Tag Archives: Spring 2020

Flash Flood by Helga Kidder


after Marie Howe It doesn’t matter that the sugar maple is leaning closer to the house, that the cluster of seeds I planted yesterday will wash away. Something doesn’t add up. The dishwasher still leaks after repair, wrens nest in the window box, and the cardinal rules the bird feeder. Another woman gives her unborn to the knife. February is too wet. Each day spiders crochet webs like bridges across the living room windows I have to unravel. The mailbox shuts its mouth to good news. The neighbor’s cat prowls in yews. The flag wraps … Continue reading Flash Flood by Helga Kidder

The Stairway by Thomas Laver

Photo of stairway leading up

The visit was long overdue. At my wife Margie’s suggestion, I decided to do something about it. So, on a summer day that was forehead-dripping hot with a steely blue sky, the two of us strolled in shorts and sandals up the Toronto street where I first lived. The cicadas sang lustily. Did they remember me? We walked past Charlie Haskin’s house. It hadn’t changed as far as I could tell. I recalled sitting in the back seat of his big gray Ford Tudor sedan in 1946 while waiting for my mother to emerge from … Continue reading The Stairway by Thomas Laver

Burning the Spiral Notebooks by Irene O’Garden

flaming black and white coal

In spite of the impending blizzard, my friend and I agree, “Today we have to burn our spiral notebooks.” Those tortured scribbles of our youth haunted our attics like madwomen, voices of the grieving girls we were, maps of the clumsy steps we took. On fire, their beauty took our breath away. Fire turned fear and wound to flaming peonies. Sweat rained. Casting book after book to the fabulous heat, casting off anguish like souls between lives. Fire turning pages in farewell, wavering ash like shirred silk. Suddenly, laughter collapses us, sprung like the spiral … Continue reading Burning the Spiral Notebooks by Irene O’Garden

Figs at Christmas by Irene O’Garden

Photo of purple figs

                 for my brother Jim On the rattan tray from California every Christmas Gramma’s boring gift arrived. We dug into the pink- and-green-foiled dates first—moist, at least—then gnawed the rawhide apricots, the gritty Newtonless figs, their dry deathly sweetness bitter even to our young tongues. Her present satisfied us only once: last week. We’d both flown to salve another sibling— her twisted brain, your rheumatoid insomnia became my grief, shared later on my husband’s shoulder, which he may transfuse in a play that critics abuse, and the pain … Continue reading Figs at Christmas by Irene O’Garden

Elmer Toon by Phil Gallos

Silhouette of man against water and sky

Summer Elmer Toon was always a little beyond the edge. Elmer shot across the bridge from Dorsey Street and onto the big parking lot, head thrust out over the front wheel as he peddled full tilt on a right-hand arc toward the river bank. Almost at pavement’s end, he stood up and threw the bicycle into a skid. The machine did as he wished. When it stopped, he was facing the direction from which he had come. Elmer scanned the backdoor faces of the Main Street buildings and the car-spangled field of blacktop that spread … Continue reading Elmer Toon by Phil Gallos

A Birth by Jess Williams

Photo of newborn baby

Daniel and I had done a lot of preparation for labor, I thought, but I never considered that it would start during the night. I had pictured it many times and it was exclusively a daytime event. In fact, it started in the morning, like most civilized activities. Like a workday. But that wasn’t how it happened. I spent the night of October 15th-16th intermittently awake with contractions. I didn’t wake Daniel up to tell him the news, though, because I’d read a passage in a birthing book about some Amish woman who didn’t tell … Continue reading A Birth by Jess Williams

A Study in Red and White and Keeping Up Appearances, 2 poems by Valerie Griggs

Photo of bright red rose

A STUDY IN RED AND WHITE Perhaps a poinsettia-shaped arrow, aimed perfectly by the mischievous son of Venus, brought pomegranate seed mayhem to this soul of mine. A red velvet cake secret snowballed sweetly until I was pale with no sleep, no appetite for anything but you. A December rose blooms above fresh fallen snow— how did you slip between my silver lining? KEEPING UP APPEARANCES On our bones we painted strawberries to hide cracks made by life in the desert. Hidden grief lives in our bones; the painted life of the desert hides what … Continue reading A Study in Red and White and Keeping Up Appearances, 2 poems by Valerie Griggs

Aerial View by Virginia Watts

Aerial view of farm field

Hannah Fisher keeps the curtains closed in every room of the farmhouse night and day. Windowsills are stuffed with juice glasses brimming with seasonal wildflowers: delicate, snow-white Queen Anne’s Lace, purple chicory, periwinkle cornflowers. She’s been working miracles with her monthly budget too, squeezing out extra cash for her husband Rex’s cases of Miller High Life and ingredients to prepare elaborate, formal dinners on the weekends, recipes she downloads on her laptop. If there’s any spare change after all of that, she drives fifty minutes to the Wal-Mart in Scutters Mill and returns home with … Continue reading Aerial View by Virginia Watts

In the Catacombs and Lost, 2 poems by Susan Muse

Black and white photo through an alley

In the Catacombs Ice hangs from the glass lantern, its dive caught midstream. It is patience itself, suspended in immense loneliness. Inside the fire flickers like a sunset descending behind the cedars out back. Only the crackle in the ashes disturbs the silence of the house. And I read leaning into the words that are tangled and brazen flaring the pending darkness like unknown corridors winding their way into the catacombs. Lost I was asleep when a lone rabbit ran through the night, his tracks spiraling the snow-burdened yard like he was lost, bearing the … Continue reading In the Catacombs and Lost, 2 poems by Susan Muse