Next - Mike Cole

he will untie all of the threads
and set the pieces adrift:
a shoe floating here and a rose there,
a brief phrase that might have meant something,
his voice caught in his throat,
the sun pushing itself into service
for another of the assigned days,
and then nothing much more than strawberries
showing off their color amid
everything he has loved.

Mike Cole’s first poetry publication was in 1968 (he’s not exactly sure of the year) in Backwash, the literary magazine of Fresno State College in California.  In the fifty-some years since, including during a thirty-plus year detour into public school teaching, he has published sporadically in Antioch Review, Laurel Review, Stirring, Red Savina Review, and other magazines, and in the anthologies Highway 99 (Heyday Press) and Some Yosemite Poets (Scrub Jay Press).  He now writes nearly every day—when he isn’t too debilitated by anxiety over the direction of our planet and its inhabitants—in a shack he built where he lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Yosemite.