Mike Estabrook


The Brewster's Ladies' Library
started by two ladies 150 years ago
is still going strong. My mother
is a volunteer there, holding
the record for the most volunteer hours
worked during any single month.
"I love this place," she says
as we leave the book stacks and wander
into the newspaper reading room
with its musty newspaper smell.
An old man in a heavy brown coat,
slouched down like a crumpled walrus
in a big leather chair, doesn't even
glance up from his newspaper
as we enter the room, but I can see
the slight smile as he overhears
my mother's reverent voice
talking about the library, with its quiet
corners and sacred spaces.
"I love this place," she says again
and takes me by the arm,
the color rising in her cheeks.
My dad would be proud of her I think,
taking such good care of all of these books.

but no one was dying

in the dream the road collapsed, dust,
shattered glass, and twisted metal everywhere
like a cache of dead bugs
as I stood alongside and watched the cars
ditch into the ever-widening trench
formed by the earth's splitting
like a giant knife slicing through naked flesh

then it filled with water
and the cars became submerged
panicked people banging windshields
with hard fists, clawing through doors
jumping out with their children and dogs,
screaming and yelling

but no one was dying (thank God)
there was just fear and anguish, confusion
and turmoil everywhere, and there wasn't much
I could do I don't think besides climb up to the top
of this hill to get a better look



A forest can be ominous, shadowy, and mystical as a Neanderthal's cave, one's sense of solitude and unity with nature awe-struck and enlightened. But at the same time, high tree limbs sway and creak, owl eyes stare from who knows where, and the underbrush shimmers in the fading gray like fresh paint on a metal roof sending a sudden shudder of vulnerability and a stiff resignation to death and the expansive universe all around.

Mike Estabrook is "a Marketing Communications Manager for a tiny division of a gigantic billions-of-dollars company, and man, going into an office every day can be excruciating. The stuffy air, the florescent lights are killing me. Thankfully I can retire in 10 or 15 years. But I still think that somehow I've got to get myself on some boat collecting phytoplankton, or into the rich brown hills of Montana searching for TRex bones. Then again maybe I simply should've stayed on Northfield Avenue where I belong and learned to fix cars like my Daddy did." Some of his publications include: The Devil's Millhopper, Dog River Review, Elements, Embers, Envoi, Experiment in Words, Hampden-Sydney Review, Hummingbird, Hodge Podge Poetry, Hung Ruse, The Iconoclast, Illya's Honey, Impetus, Quickenings, Radio Void, Rant, Reflect, Renegade, Renovated Lighthouse, Riverrun, River Styx, Roanoke Review, Ship of Fools, Sisyphus, Slipstream, Small Pond, The Space Between, Stovepipe, Suffusion, Sulphur and Sawdust, Sulphur River, The Sun, Synaesthetic, Taggerzine, Talus and Scree, TAPJoE, Thirteen, Thistle, Thorny Locust, Tucumcari Literary Review, 24-7 Quarterly, Veins, Verve, Voices, Vox, Wail!, Whisper and many more. Estabrook can be reached at mestabrook AT comcast.net.


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