Photo by Frances Gunn on Unsplash

The curve of the lens bends the ray of light

as it shifts to the delicate strand of web on the leaf.

Brown edges betray the gold grandeur of autumn

illuminated by the morning sun that quickly climbs

to the top of Dickie Ridge only to move in an arc

that hides the leaf’s glory, leaving it in silent splendor.



Taylor Cherefko 2/22/09–10/3/22

The day lilies are almost

In bloom, struggling for

A spot in the sun next

To the cattails along the small

Rivulet of water that

Divides grasses, tall

And thick from


The front yard is dotted

With colorful frames that

House swarms of bees

And wild flower honey,

Thick and sweet on the tongue.

This is the meeting place

Where friends gather

To ascend Smith Run Road,

Where Taylor and I walked

For an hour the morning

Before we found out

Her little heart was swollen.



Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Poetry is a physical,

invisible source of light

that peeks from

holes inside of us;

it is a voice for the

physicality of eyes and fingers

and a product of the process

of healing from little scars

and gaping eyes and ears

of small children.

A “journey of a nervous impulse,”

it is an untreated spasm

sifted in neurotic channels

and recorded in words that flip

Webster’s dictionary,

leaving it to wander


A poem is the insertion of

ideas but mostly parodies

from someone else’s mind

because all of the memorable lines

have already been written.

Why, then, do I continue

to unzip my skin

and let others peer inside,

all the time wondering

if I revealed

too much…too little…

or just enough to make them wonder?



More space than matter,

I wonder why I haven’t

drifted apart from myself

(though to be true,

I have more than once),

gluing the atoms together

and forming what I thought

I should be or what

everyone else thought I was.

Not recognizing the image

that stares at me from

the computer screen,

I gaze into silver-backed glass

and see a distorted etching of a face

that seems pale and unfamiliar,

with thinner lips, more lines,

and a lost fragrance

I can still smell

through the mirror

that is fogged with age,

(an act of kindness, after all).



Photo by Klim Musalimov on Unsplash

I take the bits

and the forces

that bond them together,

and scramble them

in the clouds above

and in the bowels of the earth

to rearrange the way I see myself

in order not to fear the view.

I see your skin

touch the sky in splendor

as you focus your will

onto those bits

and rearrange them into

a pattern that is more pleasing

to the eye of the soul,

but with each passing day,

each week, each month,

and the dreaded passing year,

those bits are falling

away from one another

and forming the ghost

I see in the mirror.



Joanne Zarrillo Cherefko

Award-winning educator and published poet: A Consecration of the Wind, Fragmented Roots, and Souls Tilled Like Soil. Website: