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[Poetry] Three Poems by KB Ballentine

The Root of the Wind is Water

Wind shreds the clouds,

 tears them across the horizon.

Gone the peachy glow of dawn,

 and now waves crest and foam,

roar their trouble to the shore,

 salt crusting the seaweed

tangled on shingle. Fleeting glimpse

 of a gull’s carcass dragging the sand

before the tide tugs her out once more.

 Ridges of rock appear and disappear

in seaspray.   

      Days like this,

 no others on the strand,

I remember how small I am,

 how unlikely to matter to this wildness

raging before me. Here I learn

 to be alone, to know the world will keep

going without me. But my bone

 and muscle grasp, grip the ledge

where I stand – doused by spume,

 uncaring of time, a mess of kelp wrapped

around my feet. I belong, I belong

 my shouts carry out to sea.

KB Ballentine

Memory Knows the Place

Salt-soaked air and sullen clouds

 press against the horizon, my skin.

A meager light slips through sea-spray and rain,

 wet patina over rock and pier.

Driftwood, shells gild the sand.

 Solitude fine when I left the house,

here I am remembering those last days –

 the ones I thought were our healing

but you were snipping, severing.

We walked a foreign shore, perfume of a damp sea

 day tickling our senses. I thought we two

were one, at least mending – photos still show

 the delight in my eyes. If I had looked closer

into yours, would I have noticed you

 were halfway gone?   Is hope naïve?

I’m no longer innocent, no longer trust

 the shelter of your arms or your quick smile

that braced me on days like this –

 days that promise nothing

         except more of the same.

KB Ballentine

Between Moments

Sea mist erases the shore,

  dim shadows in growing gray.

 The sob of surf sounds

both hollow and close as water searches

  the rocks, the sand –

 the bargain with light has begun.

The dog, more nimble than I,

  leads as I slip across a harvest of sea-wrack.

 Curlews cry and curse from within

the cottony fog so much like a womb.

  I wait, shrouded and blind,

 bell buoys clanging somewhere with the tide.

Scout tongues salt off stone,

  nudges driftwood until a crab scythes the air

too near his nose. Folded in this flannelled haze,

 I laugh while he snuffles and skitters the sand,

  barks drifting into nothing.

Sunlight seeps through mist,

 seeds of water charming the air

in a fading dance as dunes, seagrass,

  docks sculpt the horizon –

 rumors of the world taking shape once more.

KB Ballentine’s seventh collection, Edge of the Echo, was released May 2021 with Iris Press. Her earlier books can be found with Blue Light Press, Middle Creek Publishing, and Celtic Cat Publishing. Published in Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies including Pandemic Evolution (2021), In Plein Air (2017) and Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017). Learn more at


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