• By John Steele

A Flash of Gold & Other Poetry



A Flash of Gold


A flash of gold descends onto a blade

of grass, resolves into a dragonfly,

lingers there, airing its wings as I

creep in close, hold my breath, evade

its wary glance. Moments like this— where every

second counts— I live and die for.

Binoculars in focus, I gaze into its eye,

a speck of golden reverie,


lose myself in its translucent body.

The thought of reaching for my phone

breaks my dragonfly samadhi.

Before I notice, it has flown.

I can’t stop looking, listening, for the drone

of see-through wings, the lightning flash of gold.


Viloma: Against the Hair


Viloma, a Sanskrit word that means ‘against the hair,’ is the name of a yogic breathing practice


If you brushed a horse against the hair

you wouldn’t rush. You’d groom it with great care.

When you breathe against the hair, go slow.

As you inhale, interrupt the flow:

take a sip, pause, then take another.

Pay attention, as if to a lover.

Savor each breath, ride it like a sleigh.

Take your time. You might just need all day


to pour God’s holy spirit into clay.

Don’t you want to stop and look,

marvel at this intricate creation?

Don’t you want to seek the Way,

peer into the unknown, explore each nook—

keep searching through your final exhalation?


John W. Steele is a psychologist, yoga teacher, assistant editor of Think: A Journal of Poetry, Fiction and Essays, and graduate of the MFA Poetry Program at Western Colorado University. His poems have appeared most recently in Blue Unicorn, The Orchards, and The Road Not Taken.