Chani Zwibel: Poetry (Western Voices 2021)

Bio: Chani Zwibel is a poet originally from Elizabeth, a small town in rural Western Pennsylvania. She now lives and writes in Smyrna, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. She is the author of Cave Dreams to Star Portals, Star Portals to Cash Registers, and Cash Registers to Cave Dreams.




Dear Autumn,

I dreamed about coming home,

and now I know.

I want to live in a moss-covered cottage window

where daffodils grow on the bones of an old house,

long ago buried by forest

in the wild mountain backyard of our grandparents’ house.

Even though in Pennsylvania,

it’s always cold and rainy,

I still want to save our history. 

My mind recalls a family of turkey

crossing the road next to a graveyard.

Hills and hollows crisscrossed with bad back roads full of potholes.

Northern winter gives me a deep mourning,

cold in my bones and in my heart. 

Let’s take a walk to where the old ghosts stay

and take pictures and wait

for the green snake to slither through the grass,

a signal to go. 

Believe in the last of the trees

and we might be able to save the fairies we used to see. 

Take a truck with good tires to get there.

Long after we’re gone, the stars will tumble on,

reflected in the creek. 





Grief is a landscape,

a long field,

a hilly terrain.

As I traverse it,

I cannot tell

how far I’ve come,

or how far still I’ve yet to travel.

When it’s a summer field,

mirage lines waver in the distance,

mimic far off water,

as each step takes me no closer

to where they cease their teasing dance

and become real springs. 

When it’s a winter field,

wet with cold rain, glistening all in silver,

long grasses, hung with dewdrops like glass beads,

I wander.

My grandmothers are two cardinals,

dusty red coats

flitting over sodden brush pile

landing on drenched metal fence.




I’d like my life

to be like a Bob Ross painting-

Clear coat of slick liquid

applied so every brushstroke,

loaded with color

would go on

as an application in ease,

full of happy little trees. 


Then, when you have

a perfect, pleasant valley,

scrape away some paint with a knife

and drop a cabin down-

A dwelling place for your dreams,

layered brown paint making old, wood beams.


  1. Love the transformative power of your Grief poem. Our loved ones live within the nature we observe, as Spirit.

  2. "LETTER HOME TO SISTER" brought tears to my eyes. I read it to my sister who lives thousands of miles far from me. Thank you for this heart-catching poetry.

  3. My grandmothers are two cardinals,

    dusty red coats

    flitting over sodden brush pile

    landing on drenched metal fence.

    What beautiful lines. You capture place so well.


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