Between the Lines


stops at 40th & Broadway.

 “Transfer here, # 57, 64, & 51-north. Don’t
trip over your feet, satan’s gates always open,
okay you can board now,


and her past master dad,

veteris and weathered, escalate the steps clutching
coins & crutches.
“Going to see your Ma today?”
as penniless as, as
far gone as “a dream, yeah. Yeah, I know what you mean

about a dream, and it’s yours, your own, because you dreamed it,
even if it does feel like . . .”
                                               drown dout by sound . . .

“someone just handed it to you
like a piece of fruit or like that umbrella
you always can’t go round or like a flyer, yeah thanks,
or like transfers which is what I get a lot of.”

Sitting in front of the mirror of the windshield of
this moving picture of 3: a tenement, a tee pee, a bag.

“All rytch’all –– smaller world now since the white painmaker
falls on a lot more of us, under free & high
way camps –– this is a transfer problem
busing through the cycle within the drive envelop
of the pauper dome. Just put your dime right here,


You ever seen a bus from the air, Prue, moving on the ground?

“That’d be the earth’s childhood right there, god willing,”
“Downtown Oakland!” & hold on to your crutch
 ‘cause nothing transfers here.”



Passing Position

Passé honeybee, d.o.a.
Passé heron too far from the sea
Passé whooping crane, killer whale
wild tiger in twenty years
Passé sage sapien
            sentient’s experiment.

Every one was possible
in beauty & the fittest &

at 350 parts per millionº
we’re facing the ends.
Just “mentioning things”
is “the poet’s first business”.

East Berkeley is in the jumping key of spring.
Sequined primary green sticks to the belly
of a human on the periphery
braiding gaia in the lay
of blame.

And after all imagination
is fit to be eaten
by every species.

Sheila Davies Sumner has an M.F.A. in Poetry from St. Mary’s College of California. Her work has appeared in Rampike, Alcatraz 3, and in the graphic-story magazine, one of one, published by Burning Books. She has also written and produced radio dramas, commissioned by New American Radio, including What is the Matter in Amy Glennon, which was nominated for the International Prix Futura Award. Currently, she interviews poets for the Studio One Reading Series and is working on a book-length collection of poems.