Douglas Cole


Fukushima Forbidden Zone

Over the black field
a red cloud burns
the boars and the rats infest
the farmhouse by the road
wind never had so much freedom
the rain comes needling
over bulked-up grasses
great roots stab the earth
debris bags twitch
and the forest glows
in one home narrow eyes
feel the terrible energy
radiating from the snow
and know a monster
in the hollow over there
with pulsing invisible arms
snatches up innocent strangers
so watch for warning signs
along the way as we go


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is the burned husk of the old house with a crime scene strip around it I pass each night on my way to you. Beauty is the waist-high grass in the back yard growing tall because our father left. Oh, and beauty is the back door with white spider webs in the corners I open and see the sun over that high grass and I am only three and lift my arms to that warm light thinking that’s where I came from. Beauty is a face in a shroud in a cloud in a crowded market, a deaf-mute handing me a pamphlet that says Blessed are the Thankful as I’m picking out an avocado. Beauty is a beer after the funeral. Beauty is a good night’s sleep. Beauty is a weekend and a roll-your- own cigarette and an empty beach as far as the eye can see. Beauty is a belief, a mood, a cool attitude, a crow looking in through the window. Beauty is winning a scrabble game. Beauty is a clear lane at the Y when you go for a swim. Beauty is a car engine starting in the cold, green lights, smooth traffic, a job done well, a dog to great you when you get home.


Douglas Cole has published four collections of poetry: Interstate (Night Ballet Press); Western Dream, (Finishing Line Press), The Dice Throwers, (Liquid Light Press), Bali Poems (Wordtech Press), as well as a novella, Ghost (Blue Cubicle Press). His work is in anthologies such as Best New Writing (Hopewell Publications), Bully Anthology (Kentucky Stories Press) and Coming Off The Line (Mainstreet Rag Publishing). His work also appears or is forthcoming in journals such as The Chicago Quarterly Review, Slipstream, Wisconsin Review, San Pedro River Review and Midwest Quarterly. He received the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry; the Best of Poetry Award from Clapboard House; and First Prize in the “Picture Worth 500 Words” from Tattoo Highway. More at: