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Image by Anne Nygard

First Anniversary

How should we mark
the 365 days
of this new phase?

No rituals feel
fitting to our
peculiar love.

I will light a candle,
bake kolaches,
while you look

over my shoulder.
I can walk
in the woods,

wear the belt
you gave me,
your knife,

talk to your ashes.
Tell me how to mark
this long year

since you left
on what you called,
the next adventure.

Thin Places

Heaven and earth overlap.
You stand on an invisible bridge

between two worlds
loosely stitched.

You know it in a breath
when ordinary stones

in Scotland sweep
more magic through you

than Stonehenge. Or years drag
before you know

you touched the hem
of heaven.

After his triple bypass
I asked my father to visit

the wild bird refuge
where we walked between

moss-dressed trees,
where I held my breath,

where I photographed
him kneeling

beneath a curved-out
branch, after which

he lived 26 years

Willamette Highway

We swapped fields of summer crops
and rain for high desert,
Crescent Lake.

Mom and Dad walked the beach
as we three swam.
Pumice shoreline, ponderosa.

Sometimes we rowed
to the island
where we roamed prehistory.

One day ablaze,
on our way home
we jumped

into the river,
so cold we traded
skin for scales.

Janna Knittel lives in Minnesota but still calls the Pacific Northwest “home.” Janna has published a chapbook, Fish & Wild Life (Finishing Line Press, 2018) and has poems published or forthcoming in Between These Shores Literary and Arts Annual, Blueline, Cottonwood, Up North Lit, North Dakota Quarterly, Split Rock Review, Cold Mountain Review, Whale Road Review, and Waters Deep: A Great Lakes Anthology. Recognition includes 2021 and 2019 grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board.


  1. Anonymous

    First Anniversary : poignant poem about grief, just enough to say it all.

    • Anonymous

      Yes. It subtly and suddenly is there.


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