Marilyn Fleming

Marilyn Fleming
N40W27880 Glacier Rd.
Pewaukee, WI 53072


Born and raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, my poetry has been published in various literary journals, and anthologies. Some of my recent work has appeared inGoose River Anthology 2014, Ariel Anthology 2014, Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, Lake City Poets, Red Cedar Review, Solitary Plover, Modern Haiku, British Haiku Society, andCattails (United Haiku and Tanka Society). 
I have a special interest in oriental forms of poetry and won my first prize in the Hildegarde Janzen Oriental Forms Award in 1988. I am in the process of publishing my first chapbook.


When The Rooster Crows

I linger bedside—
the cry of a killdeer
on my tongue

birds rustle
at the water’s edge
his teeth in a jar

the milk house dark
—flash of a cat

his last words
‘there’s nothing left of me
—sell the farm’

fallowed land
from the mouth of a cave
his rattled breath

big brown hands
of cold dry clay—
a smell of twigs

raw earth shivers
threads the seed—claims him
—winter wheat

when the rooster crows
no one will remember
his face—his name

who will feed the cat
the old farmhouse stands alone
on the river flows

First appeared in the 2014 Ariel Anthology

If Not For Winter

It is the morning of the darkest day. 
The red dogwood is stripped to the drift
where rabbit tracks gather and end.
Noisy birds are at the withered choke cherries
and the wintered oak whispers utterances
of buried acorns threading in spring.

I brush snow from the cellar door
open to the dank dirt floor
to layers of scattered onion husks
kegs of sand stored carrots
sacks of apples unchanged in months
dull and darkened to a chapped red. 
I reach blind into the burlap sack
choose only the firmest
bite into one—watching the
juicy white flesh change colors
the way a dog’s bark is brown.

In the end it’s all about survival
the things we bury to make it through
the fox holes we find shelter in
and the facades we hide behind
all essential like a goat’s second coat
a cast off snake skin or a Mardi Gras
face mask kicked to the curb on Ash Wednesday.

First appeared in the 2015 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar