Note from Walter Bargen
GAPE (Guest Assistant Poetry Editor)
As he stood beside the bed, he hid his hands behind his back. There was
something of the mummy in her as she lay swaddled in sweaty sheets. Her eyes were two
unbearably bright stones hed spent a lifetime searching for, hoping to add to his
collection, and now could not place in his pocket and walk away.
When hed stepped into the room, he could feel Bedouin robes swish across the tops
of his grave-robber sneakers. Lost twice chasing after mirages, hed just crossed the
driest desert on earth before entering through the sliding glass doors and taking the
elevator to the ninth floor. Sand was banked up the wall just below the nurses call
button. Hearing the slow susurrous shifting quartz, he knew he was standing inside an hour
"Act naturally" is what hed been told, but between acting and naturally
was the chasm he couldnt bridge. Wordless they stared at each other. He pulled his
empty hands out from behind his back with the flare of a magician. He wrote on the air,
"Words flower of nothing."
I believe that these poems "act naturally" and bridge those chasms between
emotion and artifice, between the reader and the wizard behind the curtain, and I want to
thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to read their work.
Without Jim Zola I could not have accomplished the task of guest editing that he so
kindly invited me in to do.