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  February 2006
volume 4 number 1
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  contributing poets
  Elizabeth Addis
  Jack G. Bowman
  Bob Browning
  Dana Campbell
  Michael Ceraolo
  Peggy Dobreer
  Francisco Dominguez
  Lisa Helene Donovan
  Dale Duke
  Michael Estabrook
  Daniel Gallik
  Daniel garcia-Black
  Kenneth Gurney
  Roger Humes
  Amber Jacob
  Marianne LaValle-Vincent
  Marie Lecrivain
  Gary Lehmann
  Dave Nordling
  Aire Celeste Norell
  Gina MarySol Ruiz
  David W. Rushing
  Dahn Shaulis
  Durlabh Singh
  Kari Thune
  Amy Upham
  Tyler Joseph Wiseman
  mailing list
Aire Celeste Norell
February 2006



    Aire Celeste Norell's work has appeared in The Blue House, Matrix (Germany), and San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly. She has been anthologized in Literary Angles: The Second Year of poeticdiversity (2005, Sybaritic Press) and The Other Side of Sorrow: Poets Speak Out about Conflict, War, and Peace (2006, Poetry Society of New Hampshire).
    In 2004 she put together her first poetry chapbook, The Ugly Duckling & Other American Tragedies. In the same year, she edited and published an anthology (on tree-free paper using soy ink) of environmental poetry, Cracked Pavement & Plastic Trees: Our Gifts To Future Generations.
    Aire has been a featured performer at a number of poetry readings and other venues across L.A. and Orange County. She is also guilty of compulsively organizing poetry/music/dance events for good causes. Her day job is tutoring "low income, at risk" youth.

    For information about her upcoming scheduled appearances, as well as to read more of her work, please visit her website.
Aire Celeste



The Champion

Readying for battle, the champion
checks weapons, adjusts armor, ties back
hair. Her hands, dextrous from weaving, coaxing
crops from the soil, soothing children, now grip
warrior's blades. Striding to the cliff where fate
waits like a patient reptile anticipating dawn,
she discards the villagers' charms and tokens, keeps
one leaf from the sprawling tree she climbed as a child.

The dragon appears, unthinkably nimble, lighting like
a butterfly at the cliff's edge. Calm descends, she forfeits
her sword, empty hand drifting downward, a gesture that feels
like a dignified way to die.

The dragon's iris contains flecks of every human eye color
she has ever seen, gaudy bird feathers and glints of mica,
like an amalgam of rocks coalesced into a presence
with opinions. The oval narrows—a house cat reacting to the sun—
but she is drab and devoid of superiority. Warmth fades as the
dragon inhales, she exhales toward its nostrils, years of
exchanging breath with horses kicking in.

The rasp of her in the dragon-dominated stillness sparks fear
at last, tremors agonizingly perceptible, her lids sting from
staring, hands rising like a request.

Dragon-whisker scrapes her palm, she touches mammalian
heat, the dragon's chin whitening at the pressure of her infantile
grip. Her hand released, fingertips chapped, the now distant dragon
a glowing planet floating above the horizon, immobile by choice.

The champion knows she is free, absolved of expectations.
With her intact hand she loosens her hair.

copyright 2006 Aire Celeste Norell