Photo by Patrick Reichboth 


It’s inevitable thought Mithra to fall into the land of the flowers, forever drifting on pillows, but right now, he can see his breath in the cool air and watch the moon fade in the morning sky. Life with its green grass gardens and clear ponds, waterfalls, and pools bursting with wild devouring joy. In the White Palace where he resides, there are Kingdom Spirits. They live in shadow existence and depend on their ancestors to bring them food and water. Mithra visits with them to show respect for the underworld and make sure his ancestors don’t fall prey to evil spirits.

Eliza is praying over Mithra’s clothing. She has been fasting and doing ritual offerings for three days. She can see his smile and remembers the way he laughed. She tries not to cry but remains strong as he would want her to be. 

Mithra sees his sister kneeling in the cemetery. This is not her place to be, he thinks. Alarmed, he walked over as quickly as possible, and when he was near enough, he called her name, but she didn’t hear him. He calls again but she does not reply; he is close enough now and reaches to touch her shoulder, but he doesn’t feel her garment. 

Eliza felt a soft breeze brush by her, and a black butterfly flew near. She felt this must be the spirit of her brother. She felt comforted by this. She watched the butterfly in amazement. She had never seen a black butterfly. It landed on a nearby flower and stayed for some time before floating off.

In astonishment, he saw the tombstone, and as he gasped in fear, he woke up to find himself in his bed. The smell of bread came from the kitchen downstairs and the sound of his mother and sister’s voices.

Refusing to Sleep

Refusing to sleep I stand by the window and see the moon of Babylon. I imagine it is me. I see myself showered in the light, I assume I came from this place, My cat follows me. We float downstream with the rise of the curtains. The Earth is let into our room. A few nights ago, we walked down the spiraling town to Bagdad through mosaics and gardens, we do that when we’re sleepless. We pass by our generations. We feel our way through sands and waters, the kisses and caresses of our many lives. We trace the enormous present with our eyes. I put on my red western boots and walked with angels in Mexico, and by Esarhaddon’s palace with my birthmarks and love letters. In the center of the room, I turn. Awake. I see the mystery of the eternal nocturnal illuminating. Breathing. Rhythmic. Steps. Across the markers of eternal diamonds inside an oval window. I imagine it is me. I assume I came from this place. Once again, I sleep.

Photo by Norbert Kundrak

Through the Eyes of Loss

Funny how the late August sun has the nerve to shine

Shinning on that cold blue windowed high rise that’s emptied and mostly dark now

Truthfully, no one knows why they exist

What purpose do they serve?

Monstrosities all of them

Pushing aimlessly against the eternal setting sun

Blue windows

Slipping away

Into the void of night

Photo by Jan Huber

Mark’s Garden

Mark’s Garden

It’s cold for spring

It seems to me

But the sun feels good—although the air is cold, isn’t it?

I love the flowers

I’m getting old

I love this garden

It’s my pallet

And the trees too

When people pass by

Long after I’m gone

They’ll know I was here

That tree will still be standing

Alright, let’s start planting


I’ve been thinking about you

Certain and uncertain you

The picture window faces out

Versions of our days pass



Absolute you

Here but not here

Everywhere is waiting

For us

But it’s only a pursuit

Out there

Photo by Dan Meyers 

Poem Town Oregon

Poem Town, Oregon



by a flower

walk backwards towards

what gathers


the smallness

long thought



a poem passing

through an abandoned town

never gone

(c) Shirley Obitz All Rights Reserved 2023

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