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Coffeehouse Poets: A day in three parts: cosmos, Comice, COVID

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elaine smith

Elaine Smith

The Yakima Coffeehouse Poets, a nonprofit formed in 2014 to represent the interests of poets and poetry lovers in Central Washington, is the organization behind this poetry column, which runs on the fourth Thursday of each month. It features inland Washington poets and their winning poems from the Yakima Coffeehouse Poets’ annual contest.

Learn more about the contest and the organization at and

Elaine Smith taught composition and literature at Yakima Valley College. As a promoter of poetry in the Valley, she edited Allied Arts Coffeehouse poetry contest chapbooks from 2000 to 2006. With the help of Allied Arts, she initiated the Yakima “Open Mic” poetry program, and she publishes the Labyrinth Poets Series, now adopted by Yakima Coffeehouse Poets. As a member of the YCP committee, she designs and edits the annual Yakima Coffeehouse Poetry contest chapbooks.

October 31st, 2020


Blue moon in a white boa

follows mango-veiled Mars in descent

while bright Venus

rises in the east.

Mercury hides under Venus.

Jupiter and Saturn are long gone

to the far side of earth

whose slow turn I lean to

as Mars falls in the west

from wire to wire.


One giant Comice pear rescued from

a dark bruise at the blossom end sits

in the kitchen as something spectacular:

Julia Child’s clafoutis with crescent

slices circled by a gold brown crust

of milk and eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg,

lots of vanilla and a little gin.


Election in the balance, Co-vid deaths mount,

Australia burnt to the bone,

armed vigilantes and militias form,

starvation, disease, mass protests rise,

unhampered conspiracies spread,

indifference tears children from parents,

as earth’s blue mantle darkens

with two hundred years of carbon waste.

— Elaine Smith

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