E. R. Lutken

Augury in Sand

To those poor souls who dwell in night…
—William Blake

I came halfway around the world
to this beach of ash-gray basalt grains,
Hawai’i, surrounded by an infinity
of ocean, after I got news second-hand
she’d died. Seemed like an eternity
on the airplane, five stagnant hours.

Scratched at a crossword for two hours,
gave up, stared at the bloated world
of clouds, cheap window on eternity.
Ideas of an afterlife go against the grain
for me, too much dissonance at hand
to imagine angel-winged infinity.

Fractals were our chosen drafts of infinity,
Mandelbrot and Julia sets we’d peruse for hours,
watching mesmeric spokes form under hand:
seahorse tails, double spirals, island worlds,
crowns shrinking smaller than dust grains,
wild acid trips we mapped into eternity.

A slippery concept, Eternity
and her sister in space, Infinity,
positioning us on their respective lines, grains
in the middle of Here, at the Now hour,
where I pace empty shores of a dull world.
Before she died, we had everything in hand,

but on this beach, dreams drip from my hands.
Why should this be the now of eternity?
Why not some other speck of the moving world?
Plenty of room, stretching to infinity.
Pick a place and an hour, any other hour,
where sets of memories scatter like grain.

No grand recursive frills are worth one grain.
Nothing rewrites the flat, brutal history on hand.
I watch waves break hour to hour to hour,
iterations lapping at the lacework of eternity,
washing away all traces of diagrammed infinity,
while her simple, endless absence is seared into my world.

Eternity crawls by every hour,
infinity strikes hard at hand.
The world is nothing but a sand grain.

Infinite Wings

Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
—George Herbert

Remote quasars, assemblages of dribbled photon dust,
galaxies, myriad pinpoint eddying stars,
nebular mist eased apart
by solar gusts,
we mark,
and trace
subatomic freight,
heaving strands of place,
quantum twins that dwarf pace of light,
gluon-grit, dream-stuff, veiled, unmeasurable dross.

Hint in event-horizons’ lips; hideous, glinting teeth,
spinning death of distance, color, shape,
dismemberment of history,
worlds sucked away.
We kneel
or rise
on backs of fractals,
iridescent wings of butterflies,
raise sonoluminescent shouts to what is real,
entangled, radiant wonder, thought’s glistening eye.


E. R. Lutken worked as a physician on the Navajo Nation. After retiring, she taught math and science in rural Colorado for a few more years. Now she spends her time writing, playing old-time music, and fishing in the swamps of Louisiana and mountain streams of New Mexico. Her poems often involve science and mathematics, and have appeared in Ponder Review, Thin Air Magazine, and Think, among others.


Hilary Biehl
Judith Grey
Mureall Hebert
Jen Karetnick
E. R. Lutken
Marjorie Maddox
Diane Lee Moomey
Samantha Pious
Barbara Sabol
Wendy Sloan
Myrna Stone
J. C. Todd
Paulette Turco
Elaine Wilburt
Joyce Wilson


This issue of Mezzo Cammin is also dedicated to its Founder and Managing Editor for 15 years, Dr. Kim Bridgford (1959-2020). [Photo: Marion Ettinger].

The 2021 Poetry by the Sea conference was canceled due to COVID-19. The next conference is planned for May 24-27 2022.

Nicole Michaud: Throughout history, both women and fruit have been popular and enduring subjects for paintings. Women are referred to as the earth in which man plants a formed seed, distancing women from their capacity as creator. Rather, women engaging in procreation utilize the male 'pollen' to create and grow the embryonic seed of future generations.

From the Nariphon of Buddhist mythology (literal fruits shaped as women's bodies and absent bones) growing from the Makkaliphon tree, to the pomegranate of Greek mythology and the apple (or fig) of Judeo-Christian writings, women and fruit have been inextricably linked for millennia. Fruit is the basis of the temptation and fall from grace of Adam and Eve in the Bible, and serves as a treacherous precursor to conflict in mythologies such as the Greek golden apple's role in beginning the Trojan War. Women's bodies and body parts are often compared to apples, pears, melons, lemons, and other fruit. This association and dehumanization of women has facilitated an enduring mistreatment, ownership, and underestimation of capacity.

Inside, transformations are happening.

32 Poems
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