Walking the Julius Lester Path

Jane Yolen

It’s been a while
since I have walked
the old forest paths,
where tree roots
curl like traplines
and the only resting spots
are downed logs.
A river ran past
faster than I could walk.
A hidden jackhammer
of a bird gave us
marching orders.
Near the end
I shed my coat
like a sheep
happy with the shearer.
I wish I could shed
my tired legs as easily.
But I made it there
and back with only
minor complaints,
and a twinge in my knees
that had long since
given me up for dead

* Writing Prompt: Walk outside. If you are out for an hour and don’t come back with ten ideas, you aren’t working hard enough!

Sonnet / Photograph of Wild

Fatima Jafar

Dog on film, she burns street-side, belly up,
giving everything she can to the sky.
Mercy-eyed, mouth big enough for love, this
is how she will live for the viewer for
ever, the grass in its springtime push for
ever, thicknoon sun soaking the road for
ever, dirty time whipped into my own
memory. Frozen gaze may think that this
will be the end— a glance between a life
and a life, tail trembling. But I know she
does not die, not in this line. Miss Wet Nose,
grieving mother, milk giver, must walk on:
picks herself up, carcass still carrying,
shakes off the sand from her fur, lives for once.

* Writing Prompt: Think about the silent moments in your daywhen the outside world is shuttered for a while, and you feel stillness both inside and outside yourself. Write a sonnet about those hushed moments. 


Jane Yolen has published over 400 books—for children, teens, adults—and won many prizes including the MASS Book Award and Massachusetts Unsung Hero Award. She has taught at her Alma Mater, Smith College, and holds a MEd from University of Mass Amherst and six honorary doctorates from New England colleges. She was the first writer to win the PBS New England Arts and Entertainment award, and began the New England Region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and ran it for the first ten years. Her eleventh book of adult poetry is out this fall.


Fatima Jafar is a Pakistani poet living in Boston, where she is an MFA Poetry candidate at Emerson College. She is a Poetry Reader for Muzzle Magazine and Redivider, and is the co-creator of the South Asian literary platform DHOOP Journal (www.dhoopjournal.com). Her work has been published, or is forthcoming, in The Shore, The Pinch, Anti-Heroin Chic Mag, Jamhoor and more. You can find her on Twitter at @rafajf2112.