All posts by Sharon Ackerman

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

Out of Range by Patricia Hemminger

line of geese flying into gray sky
 

Patricia Hemminger has earned an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2020 Poetry Contest Consider the pattern of UV light directing bees to the flower’s center. Magnetic fields, unfelt by us guiding geese in migration. The low inaudible sounds elephants hear with approaching kin. That butterflies stand on a leaf to taste with their feet. Tiger moths ultrasonic clicks jam bats’ echolocation beams. And snakes have holes in their faces to detect their prey’s infrared radiation. I tell you again she is gone forever. You answer not all things can be seen. Patricia Hemminger’s experience of growing … Continue reading Out of Range by Patricia Hemminger

Hello Icarus by Gary Beaumier

helicopters floating above mountain haze
 

Gary Beaumier has earned an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2020 Poetry Contest Once I shuffled along the wings of biplanes I know this because I always fall in my dreams from very high and unsurvivable places tugged inexorably toward cliffs by some invisible force or tumbling off high buildings When I get old and rickety like those planes I’ll take one burst of wind too many and collapse mid flight impossibly high guy wires slackened trailing struts or tail fins as they are loosed spinning rapidly toward a thicket of trees Maybe my last words … Continue reading Hello Icarus by Gary Beaumier

Yoghurt with Honey by Ion Corcose

snow white heron reflection in dark water
 

Ion Corcose has earned an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2020 Poetry Contest When I first gazed upon the world, eyes like a dragonfly over a field of grass, I did not see lightning or crows, or a camel stubborn on its knees. I did not see a man pluck hair from a rabbit, rub chilli into the eye of a cow, burn a monkey with a blowtorch; telling the truth came later. I remember learning that the word for truth in Greek, aletheia, means to reveal the forgotten. Looking inside, I found Rumi eating a … Continue reading Yoghurt with Honey by Ion Corcose

Visiting My Mother After Her Layoff by Erik Wilbur

old car with headlights on with desert background
 

Erik Wilbur has earned an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2020 Poetry Contest As she prepares a mirepoix for the soup—her spine curled slightly over the blade, over a chipped laminate countertop—I consider that a woman can only live for so long like a stilt-house pillar in a flood. Fuck the floods of her life: . . . The flood of the drunk asleep in her bed . . . The flood of her daughter pawning heirlooms for drugs . . . Silently, I curse the ones I know of until the soup simmers. Then we … Continue reading Visiting My Mother After Her Layoff by Erik Wilbur

Ray’s Fig Trees by Derek Kannemeyer

Photo of tree tops in sunlight
 

Derek Kannemeyer has earned an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2020 Poetry Contest My father planted this fig tree. 25 years ago, the last time my folks visited. The flight back got too much for them-—missed connections, no sleep, lost luggage. And I put in a sapling plum, with dad’s help, but that one’s died since. I thought the fig was dying too, but on the phone, my dad just laughed. The day that fig tree dies is the day that I die. We scattered the ash of him five years ago, but his fig tree … Continue reading Ray’s Fig Trees by Derek Kannemeyer

Spring’s Memory by Sharon Ackerman

two crows on wire
 

I will never forget the first time I read Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon and its startling portrait of the character Pilate. When Milkman first meets her she is standing very still, dressed in black and cradling a round, luminous orange in her palm. That image never left me, suffused as it was, with archetypes of The Crone, The Magician, The Shadow. Morrison knew how to make heart-stopping use of instinctual images. Plumbing deeper, I think the portrait of Pilate personified the Earth Mother, her darkness and her light, her life-giving power and her predation. … Continue reading Spring’s Memory by Sharon Ackerman