All posts by Sharon Ackerman

The Dumb Have the Advantage by Jim Klein

man and woman kissing in sunbeam
 

If you were mine, I could do such wonderful things. Oh, the stupid idea of being a human being and having to do all that sucking to stay alive—and then he learns to talk! Howl into the fierce grizzly innards of interpersonal relations. The dumb have the advantage. Nothing but silence won’t hurt. I wished, oh how it could have been, stepping into a gentle night when even leaving was a sociable act with the band playing in the background. I can’t tell you how happy I am in a land of tapping fingers and … Continue reading The Dumb Have the Advantage by Jim Klein

Carnival to Miss Greenstein by Charles Cantrell

blue and purple light swirl at carnival
 

My brother and I played war in a ditch near the Ferris Wheel while the carnival barker shouted. Our games didn’t take precedence over my wanting to live like a civilized person, but my father couldn’t afford violin lessons for me. Most of my teachers sucked, and we had only cookbooks and a ragged dictionary at home. My father killed so many deer we had plenty to eat, but I still wore a thick jacket in the cold. I can’t say it called me to the world, but I loved snapping the bra strap of … Continue reading Carnival to Miss Greenstein by Charles Cantrell

Here’s to Us by Mark Simpson

Woodpecker in tree
 

Woodpeckers at it again this morning boring into the cedar clapboard, fascia, cove boards too soft with age, too inviting for the particular family-to-be of the pileated kind, red crest pure blazon and I rise time after time, running outside arms waving yelling Out! Out! and then worse the third or fourth time, my cup of coffee gone cold, page lost in book, and it knows I’ll give it up sooner or later or probably doesn’t care if I wouldn’t but I do, feet dew-soaked from all the running around in the flagrant April green … Continue reading Here’s to Us by Mark Simpson

Passing the 19th by Laura Altshul

Woman and man in black against white city background
 

His mother’s words: Be a good boy! Whatever that meant in 1920. What did Harry T. Burn know? He was a man now: 24 Republican Tennessee Representative. He’d seen her in the kitchen, kerchief holding back her hair, the kettle’s steam whooshing to her face as she fished out mason jars loaded with peaches glossily preserved for winter desserts. At meals she served herself last. Listened, didn’t ask or say much. He saw her give food to men who came to the back door at strange times of the day. She wore a faded apron … Continue reading Passing the 19th by Laura Altshul

From a Stranger by Linda Lerner

narrow hall with blue carpet
 

For Marvin Gordon Thank you, he said when I moved well to the side to ensure a safe enough social distance for him to pass, what my ballet teacher did in those early AIDS years by shaking his head motioning with his hands to push me away when I reached out to hug this teacher I adored, just home from the hospital, who’d assured me, all of us he didn’t have AIDS, and being naive and young… but I wasn’t all that young not to get a patronizing if you say so look from those … Continue reading From a Stranger by Linda Lerner

Einstein’s Last Words and Angina, 2 poems by J.R. Solonche

Light flaring against deep blue space
 

EINSTEIN’S LAST WORDS (Einstein died on April 18, 1955, attended by a nurse who could not understand his last words, which he spoke in German.) Surely it must have been a simple thing, that sort of phrase the ordinary old would say, child-like, such as “More light” or “Bring me, please, water” or “Close the door” or “Hold my hand” or “I was wrong” or “What’s the time?” Perhaps it was a line or two of verse from Faust, or a nonsense nursery rhyme that curved around to close his universe. And if all it … Continue reading Einstein’s Last Words and Angina, 2 poems by J.R. Solonche

Indian Bread by Amy-Sarah Marshall

Pine bark in sun and shadow
 

We used to wedge our tiny dirty un- girly fingernails into the flesh of the dowdy pine trees plotted in the concrete squares that defined our territory. Indian Bread, someone called it, someone stupid. But we were stupid, too. We hungered so hard to put something real in our mouths. Every night my mother plopped a can of fruit cocktail and a pile of green peas on the chipped plates. I couldn’t put my elbows on the table while we chewed. How incredible it felt to peel the grey bark back and cull the new … Continue reading Indian Bread by Amy-Sarah Marshall

Farm Girl Flying by Trish Annese

Bright red female angel
 

Loosed from the arms of her mother by the shame of wings, borne on blue, feathered splendor, she watches earth fall fast, past sycamore, linden and pine. A farmer saw her, waved and shook his head, said to his son: you have to be careful—girls like that, they’ll rise when you least expect them, take your self-respect along with an embroidered tablecloth or two. How can she explain it? Flight without tether? If this girl knew Brueghel she might well fear flight: The farmer threshing his wheat and his son, just a boy, pretending not … Continue reading Farm Girl Flying by Trish Annese

Liquid Bandage by Michele Riedel

white bandaid against pale blue background
 

Brush a thin film over the slit on your papered skin— ………..feel the throbbing start to numb. Shields against……………………………..daily scrapes ……………………………………………………blisters and callouses ……………………………………………………prickles ……………………………………………………exposed nerves I scan directions for protection from…………………………….splintered remarks lodged so deep they remain hidden until the skin regenerates……………….pushing the sharpness slowly ……………………………………………………toward the surface Search for……………………………………toxic comments from others …………………………………………………..places not yet recovered …………………………………………………..pummeled layers from sharp tongues turned red to purple to blue to yellow from deep tissues that ooze their spew. Scars that never faded, alleyways from the past. My palms sweat as I touch the thick callouses … Continue reading Liquid Bandage by Michele Riedel

Some Day We Will Replace That Hideous Window by Virginia Watts

thin stemmed yellow daisies
 

  My mother has forgotten about the sun Her gaze gauzy, living room window a bay shape she has always detested Here comes the mailman My father is in the Rehab Center Our king and conqueror of transient ischemic attacks Your father’s strokes are just mini strokes Stacked in a corner of oil stained garage Forest green plastic lawn chairs unparted for cobwebby eons Virginia, what are you doing out there? On the small concrete front porch of that one bath, three bedroom rancher I place two empty chairs in the sunshine as white spiders … Continue reading Some Day We Will Replace That Hideous Window by Virginia Watts