Faith Kaltenbach  is a new voice in the neighborhood for me. She calls herself a student poet, but I'd say she's earned life credits.  Thank you, Faith!  Just in the knick of time to be among the last of years' worth of Sunday Poets. The Fix owners have given their notice.  At best I will publish Faith and one or two others before Poof! The Duke City Fix is kaput. Sophie and Adelita have been running at a loss, a labor of love. If anyone is interested in taking over the Fix, as is, please contact them.  There is the hair of a chance that someone will rescue the site.

And here is a full hand from Faith Kaltenbach. (I totally love Oxblood; well, all of them--A Cold August Is breathtaking).

A Cold August


I stopped without knowing why at a pueblo mission, Our Lady of the Angels,

on a quiet showery August morning. Something drew me up to the ruined church,

to the small sacristy where a frail and ravaged ghost spoke to me

from the summer before the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.


late summer

beans and squash hang heavy

in the gardens

low clouds tumble down

from the mountain

the air is almost cold


he caught me

here in the sacristy

where they make me

wash his vestments


the floor is rough stone


my hand is broken

and my teeth

I smell of blood and filth


where was Our Lady of the Angels?

* * * *

Northern Song Scroll

Mountains echo mountains,

snow water plunges down

and grasping pines overhang

a small house, where she looks out

through her eyelashes,

and hears the deep dying sound

of the bronze bells struck

far down the plain.

She hasn't enough time.

* * * *



After you slammed the door –

you would say you closed it firmly –

I wondered if it was me

or the wet weather

or that book you just read.


Or the way I had painted one wall

a dark dark red

like a slack rose

like a Wagyu steak

like port left in the bottom of a glass.


Or maybe you somehow knew

that by now I would be opening windows,

wanting a change of air

and letting a little rain blow in.

* * * *

The Letter S


I ride the slow swirl as the river winds

like a change of mind that's changing its mind

My reflection is a Z


I draw the line between yin and yang

I am a triskelion which lost one tang       

My cousin is a maze


I am the swoop of the Great Smokies' coves

I'm surf, I'm bricks laid in serpentine curves

My strength is corrugation


My work makes multitudes from one                        

I take my break when the blackbirds come                

My business is expansion


Hear my sizzle, hear my hush, hear steam escape

hear an hourglass and a frightened snake           

My stereo is built in


My kyrie echoes in aspen leaves                             

My coda hums the sonance of sleep                          

My tongue is a jazz brush   

* * * *


Petty Theft


I stole a berry from the birds

and as I say these guilty words

I fear a single taste for me

might be a sparrow's feast for three.

But when I stop to calculate

the sparrow's metabolic rate –

perhaps I stole dessert for one

and now my little crime is done.

* * * *

Faith Kaltenbach is a student poet and a grandmother who lives in Rio Rancho. She attended Bennington College and The Arboretum School of the Barnes Foundation.  She has worked in magazine and textbook publishing and stock photography.  Her first published poem will appear in Poets Speak (While We Still Can),volume 5: Walls.

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Comment by The DitchRider on Sunday

My apologies for the last line drop in "Northern Song Scroll." technical error--all fixed now.


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