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Rikki Santer

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including six Pushcart and three Ohioana and Ohio Poet book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eleventh poetry collection, Stopover, which is in conversation with the original Twilight Zone series was recently published by Luchador Press. She is also a member of the teaching artist roster of the Ohio Arts Council, a vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association, and a member of the poetry troupe, Concrete Wink. Please contact her through her website:

Thought, Song,

particle, wave, the glorious inhale/
exhale of it. Two cardinals dither
daily at our address.
My wry husband believes that drones
will be our next state bird
but I believe in you—our backyard familiars,
priestly robes of Ohio, red beyond
any of our reds.

Beneath the ceiling of your soaring,
you’ve stayed put in our ravine, lifemates
under a Biblical edge of sky.
You are the opening lines of our mornings
schooling us in melody,
our vowels between your vowels
now you see me, now you don’t.

You decorate our front dogwood,
you are the sum of our location,
clear-windowed nest filled
with quivering guillemots
for whom you share the feeding
with unspoken fairness.

You both light on our deck’s railing, leap
onto our breakfast table, porcelain plate
filled with blueberries and black-oil
seeds and sometimes,
in my aptitude for stillness, mother
pecks from my palm.
I think you come close because
you can escape so easily.

This winter, swish of scarlet frosting,
black masks that seem to wait for our notice.
Children hum in next room.
Husband brings me a hot toddy.
Kiss between us, our tongues mealworms
twirling for sustenance.
Where we’ve been doesn’t matter.
Where we fit so perfectly
grows wings.
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