The Last Word — “Polar Star” by Joe Chambers

Photo courtesy of Bachtlar Rahady, Flickr creative commons:
Photo courtesy of Bachtlar Rahady, Flickr creative commons:

Our March contributor to The Last Word was Joe Chambers, with his poem “Polar Star”—




Polar Star

Snow-reflected sunlight makes me squint
like a musician
peering past spotlights
to the auditorium crowd.
We are all stars in winter!

But I don’t feel special.
I penguin shuffle across shiny sidewalks
slumped under low clouds and heavy clothes.

Except, for those nights
when the washboard rhythm of my shovel
throws plumes of down that two-step with me
amidst the rumor of light whispered by snow and sky.

Except, for those mornings
when zero degrees Fahrenheit
is a long ways up and the air
is crisp as a granny smith apple

but dry and clear
so I see far
like an eagle
or an oracle.

Joe Chambers received his B.S. & M.A. from the University of Iowa, worked as a political staffer for three years, since has been a financial advisor. His poems have been published in Off Channel and Lyric Iowa. Other interests include history, football, French language, & learning to play the piano.

The Last Word is open to submissions (MWC members get first priority). To submit, please send one poem (no longer than 30 lines; other formatting considerations, such as line length, should also be taken into account) or one work of short prose (fiction/non-fiction, 500 words max) in a MS Word file (.doc, .docx, .rtf) to, and include the phrase “The Last Word Submission” in the subject line. Please also include a brief bio (50 words max). Selections will be made each month by MWC staff and guest editors.