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Local Lit

LOCAL LIT: Two Poems by Yvette Flaten

"Imagine / putting on / your first pair of glasses ..."

Yvette Flaten |


putting on
your first pair of glasses,
age five.

Imagine seeing leaves
for the first time;
not as a cloudy green
mushroom cap, backlit
and indistinct

but as leaves
alive, individual,
each in their turn
nodding, waving,
unique as thumbprints
rich with their lifeblood,
precious in their days.

Imagine, then, your first
clear view of trembling aspen,
the dry skitter of curled
maple, and in winter’s depth,
a clutch of russet oaks
thrumming on the wind.


October Night

No, I corrected my Cub Scouts:
This isn’t a graveyard.
No bone pit, no ghoul haunt.
Just a cemetery; an honest field
of square stones naming dutiful
soldiers, heartfelt loved ones,
and the old in deep, deserved
rest among cypresses and oaks,
where robins run in the rain.

But then, one night, October’s
full yellow moon rose like a head
behind a leafless clutch of twig
fingers, leered over the padlocked
mausoleums, scoured the ghostly
slabs, and I was glad to be driving
through, not walking, where brittle
leaves skittered before a restless wind.


Yvette Viets Flaten, writes short stories and long historical fiction, but it is in poetry that she finds a deep and resonating voice. Recently, her poem “Riding it Out” was one of the winners in Garrison Keillor’s Pandemic Poetry Contest. Also, her short story, “La Pestilencia,” was published in The London Reader’s summer 2020 “Our Time in Quarantine” issue.  Click here for more by and about Yvette.


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