Ariana D. Den Bleyker


My Children & I Sit on a Bench at Lake Wallenpaupack

Watching August Set with the Sun


The dark awakens, connecting with the waning

light on the other side of the mountain


& I’ve come to recognize my children

in the pinks & purples,


their dreams & youth hot & alive in the summer heat.

We clasp hands along a bench holding the light


a little longer into the future.

Sometimes there’s a sunset different from the rest.


The boats float beneath it, shimmering water

pocketing time; what we keep


is ourselves, the promise of what’s on the other side.

There they say what’s eternal is another sunrise,


a moment of peace, of rest, of joy.

Their glowing faces radiate


into the sinking sun while my proud bones crack,

spill marrow onto their feet.


Hand-in-hand we weave the stillness

of our shadows lengthening homeward,


backs against the bench,

content as it gets darker. Later, they’ll dream


in silence & I’ll smile knowing

they’ve felt the stars brush their hair.




My Teenage Son Rambles Incessantly for Nearly an Hour

on a Random Topic & I’ve Failed to Listen


His voice comforts me, gathers energy, finds adventure

inside an awkward body. Extraordinarily gifted


in human nature, in quest for answers, knowledge, he tells me

fish feel water as if walking barefoot


through blue grass at midnight, the long, black hairs of a dream

snapping—satisfying, silent curiosity—


an exhilarating feeling, exuberant & wild, vivid, beautiful, tantalizing.

He’s inviting me to come listen, climb cacti & touch wildlife.


I live, breathe in time, spun by the belief, perception, faith

& knowledge we all live out moments filled with fragrance or dust—


our choice, our fears & hesitations. Hearing my heart beat an anthem,

feeling a deep oceanic gulp of laughter, the knowing & forgetting


leaves me nowhere else to go but now. It’s only time

& I’ve failed to hoard it against some unknown future that may never dream;


instead, I let his voice step through open hands, flood my ears,

pry them open because this instance is forever,


the only time meant for living, drinking deep & dancing wildly,

not something tucked away in cedar


for those who don’t want to step

into fire & spend their moment as flame.


Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in New York’s Hudson Valley where she is a wife and mother of two. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family and every once in a while sleeps. She is the author of three collections, fifteen chapbooks, a novelette, an experimental memoir, and two crime novellas. She hopes you'll fall in love with her words.