two poems

by Benjamin Mast


to the bright red geranium on the porch
whose petals are
the scarlet gloss of strawberry jam
jarred and jeweled on my mother’s shelves
perched on weightless green
daring kneading thumbs to churn their bed

the crimson passion does not fade even after
a charmed schoolgirl waiting for her mother
plucks a gem from its stock
fiddles with its design
tucks it behind a summer-browned ear
even then it glows delicious candy red
as it evangelizes
the beauty of the seed in the earth
in the pot on the porch



I toss pennies in a well,
and hope, as I’ve been told,
that later I’ll draw out quarters instead—
that is if no one has taken from my well by then,
and if the alchemy has worked,
copper has become silver,
and if the burgeoning apocalypse
hasn’t destroyed the well altogether.

Today I read about a girl in Seattle who
befriended a crow by way of dropped morsels,
breadcrumbs and sunflower seed,
and in exchange,
shiny bits of payment on her windowsill:
a silver dollar,
an antique pin,
a glossy shred of a Cosmopolitan cover.

Hers is the investment I hope for,
or at least that I understand.
Getting rich the way the rich get richer
carries a certain security,
but I’m more inclined toward a slower return,
via a magpie
with a cocked-head stare,
so when faced by the oncoming
I’ll have around me one
who also believes the way to survive
begins with a penny
gifted to a small pink hand.

Benjamin Mast grew up in a small Mennonite town in Indiana, but has since been more nomadic, living in Chicago, Seoul, Virginia, and Indianapolis, before recently deciding to move to Seattle. Wherever he goes, he seeks good literature, good food, and good volleyball. His writing has most recently been published in Rhubarb Magazine, The Write Launch, Mikrokosmos, and The Phoenix Literary Journal.


Artwork by: Aleks Marinkovic