Curled Photograph on a Table in Missouri
Staring at me from the sketch pad
propped on an easel in the upstairs
bedroom of my mother’s rented house
is a faint unfinished likeness
in soft gradations of cinereal
of my mother’s mother,
She holds her purse in self-conscious
awkwardness where she stands beside
a Greyhound bus. Scribbled in pencil
across the photo's back in Mary’s distinct
cursive writing are the words Pontiac, Illinois. Circa unknown.
The sketch achieves dimension
even as the sepia photo of its inspiration
curls in the turgid Missouri air –
nascent lines of the soft graphite pencil
settle beneath my mother’s fingers
and speak of loss, imbuing Mary, mother of six,
with choices she never thought to have.
Lisa Hase-Jackson's award winning poetry has appeared in such journals, as The Midwest Quarterly, Kansas City Voices, Fall Lines, I-70 Review, and The South Carolina Review. Born in Portland, Oregon and raised primarily in the Midwest, Lisa is a traveler at heart and has spent her adult years living and writing in such locations as Anyang, South Korea, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Spoleto, Italy. Lisa is editor of Zingara Poetry Review.
Kintsugi, the Art of Gold
The bowl, knocked off the table in a fit of rage, takes its time in the lazy descent to the floor. The house is silent for those few pin-pricking moments, the tension not dissipated, like holding its breath as the porcelain bowl tumbles end over end, twisting, turning, dancing, and finally smashing against the wood floor.
And the air explodes, too.
Father bursts from his seat on the couch, his face red, livid. Mother jumps up to stop him, and Brother recoils. He knows he fucked up, again, and he takes off toward his room to cower under the bed sheets. The house rocks under the force of the door slamming. Father’s stomping footsteps echo down the small hallway and Brother screams in anger and in fear and Mother is reprimanding Father for overreacting, even though her favourite bowl was just shattered to pieces, and Dog next to me starts to shake so I cover her ears and shake too.
It’s the Universes fault, I know that.
I grip Dog tightly and repeat those words.
It’s the Universe that gripped that bowl tightly in its hands and yanked downwards. It’s the Universe’s fault for creating Action and Consequence, and it’s the Universe’s fault for not cluing in Brother. It’s the Universe’s fault for making noises travel far too quickly and far too loud, for making the sound of Brother’s tantrum, and the sound of the wooden spoon smacking his lower back, far too brutish, and it penetrates my ears through clenched fingers.
The fragments on the ground shake with me, too.
It’s the Universe’s fault for making anger, and for making bowls that shatter too easily, and for making Spanking Spoons and for making cups and outlets and permanent markers and all the things Brother is not supposed to play with but does anyways, and for making these nights that are so disruptive, and for making couches that are too big for me to sit on all by myself. It’s the Universe’s fault for making turmoil like this.
But I can fix it. The Universe thoroughly fucked up creation, but I can make it better.
I can take on the Universe for my family.
I take a deep breath, and I suck in all the tension. I suck in all the bad, all the negative like a big Universe-destroying vacuum, and with practiced motions, I fling open a window and I expel it all into the darkness of the night. Just like that.
The fragments on the ground are still, and the house is quiet.
I take a plastic bag, and quietly gather up all the shards. I take them past Brother’s room, where Mother and Father are both sitting on his bed and talking quietly to him, where tears stream down his face, but he nods as they try to fill in the gaps the Universe didn’t bother to fill. I take them past that room, and down the long, stretching hall and into the empty kitchen.
I dump the content of the bag onto the table, and sort them out.
I grab the glue. I pull up a chair.
I take the cracks, and I fill them with gold.
Anna Boyer is a part-time student, full-time writer in high school. She has competed in writing competitions since 7th grade, and has recently won a silver medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing competition. Aside from writing, she enjoys playing the trombone, exploring new places, and spending time with her dog.
Two Wives, Half Transformed
Each of them – Monet, Cezanne – used his wife as model for a painting that seems transformation rather than portrait: Madame Cezanne is more than half mountain, Madame Monet, monster samurai.
i. Madame Cezanne in a Red Armchair
I want to make of Impressionism an art solid as that of the museums. Cezanne
Madame Cezanne’s face is a dead zone: gray
patches mottle it, blotching ruddy skin; stolid,
stony, expressionless, she looks as if she has
been sitting for this painting for years, and
she has: between views of Mont Sainte-Victoire
and bowls of fruit, Cezanne’s returned over
and over to her form. Presence now become
absence, she’s lost in her skirt’s abundance
gone mountain landscape, green and gray,
finally an abstraction of colour, light flashing
and glittering as it might upon the slopes
of Mont Sainte-Victoire, on trees, a range of
rocky outcroppings studded with mica, alight,
glinting, as nothing is in the painting’s upper
half, where a blood red armchair, walls
of mustard, dun jacket, the black notes of
Madame Cezanne’s hair and necklace absorb
all light, refuse to reflect it to the viewer.
In this his solid art, this woman he’s turned
into a mountain, a massive landscape shining
with light that where it touches her face,
her flesh, illuminates only form not feeling,
leaves the inner world as mysterious still
as any tree’s thought or stone’s imagining.
ii. La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume)
“To emphasize her Western identity,” the Museum notes tell us, Monet had his wife Camille wear a blonde wig for this life-size portrait.
Behind her, what should be wall is undefined space –
a screen, perhaps, of sea-blue brocade – ; against it
an array of floating fans seem casually strewn,
some with painted scenes we can construe, others
a blur of atmospheric color, line. Camille’s blonde
head is archly tilted, as is the fan she’s holding:
this one patterned in the colors of Japan’s flag.
To the waist, her red brocade robe is delicately
adorned with embroideries of flowers, leaves,
winged forms suggesting birds, butterflies:
ethereal forms. But at her waist, and as if from
it, the figure of a grotesque samurai emerges:
so three-dimensional it seems not the robe’s
fabric but a living creature superimposed on
Camille’s costume – surely the arm that holds
his dagger’s hilt is not an image on the falling
folds of robe. The comic menace of his gaze
upwards echoes Camille’s glance, down-tilted,
while the contorted muscles of his arm are dark
mirror of the white flesh of her fan-holding
hand. Below, the robe’s train widens to a swirl
of brilliant color, serpentine curve, ambiguous
rippling waters beneath it, that dark exotic sea
giving birth to the portrait’s strange dichotomy.
Monet was mocking the current Parisian fad
for all things Japanese, we’re told. The underside
of jest is warning: be careful what you play with.
Sandra Kohler is a poet and teacher. Her third collection of poems, Improbable Music, (Word Press) appeared in May, 2011. Earlier collections are The Country of Women (Calyx, 1995) and The Ceremonies of Longing, winner of the 2002 Associated Writing Programs Award Series in Poetry (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared in journals, including The New Republic, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Prairie Schooner, and many others over the past 40 years.
Under the Purple Sky, I Ask of You
I used to dream
about this kind of purple
of the summer night sky
bursting open after a storm.
Under this night sky,
I am grabbing your dark hair
and warm sparks spiral
from your German tattoos
into my black dress.
A shadow darts across your face
like a spirit crossing a room
to move the metal clock hands
and whisper a spell
across the worn leather couch,
where I imagine
you covering me silently
with your wool cardigan.
It smells of smoke and the grey
of a silent knife being polished
in the indigo-black sky.
The sky most nights
is a dark blue hand reaching
for your red heart.
I listen for its beating
but can only hear the train
as it lugs itself
across the tracks
in the greying night.
I remember my friend's story
about two teenagers walking
along tracks in the dead of night,
stepping on the ties
like they are walking
on a pier across the ocean.
I walk your wooden floors
in the early hours of morning
and listen for their whispers.
Beneath the newly red sky, I find
that sharp slice of silver
gleaming between suffocated sunbeams.
It is the hour
of burnt oak and cedar
and my hands reaching
for the cursive lyrics
newly inked on your rib:
“Faith, you're driving me away.
You do it everyday.”
I kiss the red, tender skin
and whisper a poem
about the day I walked
into the ocean
for the first time.
I dropped a single grey stone
into its quietly turbulent body.
If you are a river,
then I am the stones
sitting at your bank,
feeling you slowly run
your cold touch across
my smooth, shining surface.
Beside me, drops of blood
glisten like metal in
the morning light.
I ask of you only
that you learn
to carry me softly
in your current,
gentle as the first time
you held me under
a purple sky splashed
with silver stars.
I've carried this wish,
folded it into my body
after years of contemplation.
Courtney Justus is a writer living in San Antonio, Texas. Her work has been published in Tipton Poetry Journal, The Trinity Review, Eunoia Review and The Rivard Report, among other publications. She will graduate from Trinity University with a Bachelor of Arts in English this May.
Author's note: The lines, “Faith, you're driving me away. You do it everyday” are from the song “My Iron Lung” by Radiohead.
The Marble Faun and Other Anecdotes of Excess
Muscled calves and overworked thighs, neck thick with the weight of wineskins and ferrying baby goats. I thought the boy would be graceful or at least a little more delicate, although the cracks in the arm and back indicate he's been broken at least twice. His entire body, sculpted from red marble, seems to pulse with pleasure; though only his pointed ears, no doubt coated with soft fur, seem edible. The goat staring up at him seems drunk too, or at least too gay for a goat, his mouth laughing at something his shepherd had said. He's a shepherd, sure, but most of his sheep are long lost or eaten by wolves, taken easily by thieves, even his pipes, probably his ninth or tenth pair, the others left hanging on a tree's branch while their wine-blind owner tried to find home. Grapes grown and crushed, sugared and consumed too quick. But let's not regret what's already done. Pipe us a song animal-boy, if you can remember one; we've been pretending you're not one of us, for centuries.
I should have told Tina it was time to call her mother when she, nineteen years old and my student, said she thought she was pregnant and asked, her eyes staring into mine, What should I do? It was too late to teach her the ridiculous Italian word for condom--preservativo—and anyway she said it'd been an Italian and trying to convince one of them to wear one was, even old teachers know, not an easy task especially in English. This was the same girl I'd taken to the pharmacy to buy something to treat a yeast infection. The same girl who showed up smelling of beer two mornings of four though she'd, so far, submitted her homework on time and never been more than five minutes late to any class excursion. I taught her how to say pregnancy test in Italian--test di gravidanza—and then bought her a three-pack even though I knew I'd regret it. After all, she was my favourite.
But, she said, I wanted the dirty jokes and the small ears. I wanted a strong back and a tattoo on every appendage. I wanted his piercings, three in each ear and particularly the one through his tongue. I wanted the huff and puff and for him to blow my house in. I wanted the loud Italian musicNegrita and Subsonica, and the cheap English beer. He was too poor for a whole joint, but he offered me half of what he had and didn't get mad when I took almost all of it. The Carrefour supermarket where he used to work had issued an arrest warrant after he stole the entire hind leg of a hog, uncut and stuffed in his bag. He said he didn't intend to keep it, but for god's sake, who takes so muchprosciutto crudo and doesn't mean it? I paid for dinners and didn't mind, but I wouldn't let him take any photos of me naked. After I left Italy, I deleted even the ones with our clothes on.
Sarah Wetzel is the author of River Electric with Light, which won the AROHO Poetry Publication Prize and was published by Red Hen Press in 2015, and Bathsheba Transatlantic, which won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry and was published by Anhinga Press in 2010. When not shuttling between her three geographic loves--Rome, Tel Aviv, and New York City--she teaches creative writing at The American University of Rome. She holds an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and a MBA from Berkeley. More importantly for her poetry, she completed a MFA in Creative Writing at Bennington College in January 2009. You can see some more of her work at www.sarahwetzel.com.
What we don’t know, we call Zambia,
exaggerating darkness, seeing juju in each
bent twig and fallen feather, naming
its spirits resentful and malevolent.
We demand cheetah pelts and feathered
crowns, not jeans and Adidas,
bare-breasted women with babies strapped
to their backs. Our Zambezi writhes
in its banks, does not sluggishly shoulder
motorboats. We resent the encroachment
of the global, even as the Zambians
themselves gladly fire up loud generators,
lighting the night and watching Game
of Thrones while chatting on mobiles.
We prefer the Zambia of steatopygian shadows,
drummers, witch doctors, and conical huts,
telling its denizens they know nothing
at all about themselves and should leave
their exposition to those more passionate,
us, to whom Zambezia whispers.
This poem was first published in the poet's book, Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books).
Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has seven chapbooks and three collections out or forthcoming, among them: We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/Complicated (A collaboration with Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic); Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders); and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found in The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Aeolian Harp Folio, The Free State Review, Rattle, and more.
I stoop to gather geology:
pebbles, blue-grey, cool white,
scribbled with the sea’s
language, older than God.
Cream clam shells too
flushed with pink, inky mussels.
Specimens, for my collection.
I am a specimen too:
a woman of the 19th century,
bundled into stiff layers,
hooped skirts hemmed
with seawater, waist pinched
by bone from creatures
who swim deep in the ocean.
We make our way back up the chalk cliff,
the tide behind us sucking our footprints to nothing.
The waves will not remember us.
But I have treasures to arrange on a shelf
in a room of drapes and heavy brocades
where plants are kept under glass.
Later, I will unwrap my pale skin
in the lamplight,
inspect its lucence
in the tipped mirror,
wonder am I God’s creation.
Penny Ayers: "I’ve won prizes in the Wells Festival of Literature International Poetry Competition 2009, and the Cardiff International Poetry Competition 2013. I’ve had work published in several journals including Brittle Star and The Dawntreader. I help run the Gloucestershire Writers’ Network for writers of prose and poetry living and working in Gloucestershire, UK."
Runners in the Snow
Two hours in, we trudge the ridgeline, lead-legged,
faces numb, rime of breath-frost ghosting
our eyelashes, our beards, our backs bent
under the glacial weight of miles. Our skinny dogs
are weary from porpoising the drifts, chasing
the echoes of last summer’s rabbits down dream-
holes in crusted snow. Above the town/below
the skim-milk sky, we find ourselves pinned
to this landscape, no more free than the brush-
strokes of crows who smear themselves
across the flat, matte, hunkered-down hulk of cloud.
The afternoon wears claustrophobia like a cloak,
the chimney smoke pressed to the rooftops,
the rachitic branch-tips of trees. No velocity,
no escape. The horizon—shredded by steeples,
the broken canines of peaks—seems fixed,
phony, vanishing-point the gunmetal river pours
itself into. A creeping quiessence: color-suck,
sound-suck, ice-water coalesces in our limbs
even as we drizzle ourselves over one last hilltop
between forest and home. And then a cry
like birdsong vaults from the valley, scarlet dialect
our startled blood remembers. A kid, a pond hockey
hat-trick, and afternoon’s chest cracks open,
the day erupts into a whole new kind of awake. Joy
is an iceberg, but sometimes it geysers
from your heart like steam. So we haul ourselves
up onto our toes, race each other over the crest,
tumble into town in an avalanche of howls and hollers,
the ecstatic singing of dogs. This is how spring begins.
Brent Terry holds an MFA from Bennington College. He is the author of three collections of
poetry: the chapbook yesnomaybe, (Main Street Rag, 2002) the full-length Wicked, Excellently
(Custom Words, 2007) and Troubadour Logic (Main Street Rag, forthcoming 2018). His stories,
essays, reviews and poems have appeared in many journals. He is working on new poems, a
collection of essays and a novel. Terry lives in Willimantic, CT, where he scandalizes the local
deer population with the brazen skimpiness of his running attire. He teaches at Eastern
Connecticut State University, but yearns to rescue a border collie and return to his ancestral
homeland of the Rocky Mountain West.
Grandma’s Sick Curve
Spectacles-Testicles-Wallet-Watch is, as far as I know, the only Catholic mnemonic device in existence, representing the Signs of the Cross. The nuns and priests didn’t teach us this, of course, our education coming before school, on the playground, or in the sacristy before Mass as we waited, dressed head to toe in surplice and cassock, for the priest’s arrival.
Spectacles: touch the forehead.
Testicles: touch the lower belly.
Wallet: the left shoulder.
Watch: the right.
Then: salvation (“And that’s what it’s all about!”).
Catholics, on the whole, are a reactive species, praying more frequently for forgiveness than for guidance. We have whole ceremonies and rites built around clemency—Reconciliation, Last Rites, Holy Communion chief amongst them—and we baptize our babies because we’ve been told they’ve skinny-dipped into this world dirty with sin. I spent only nine years, twenty-five percent of my life, as an active participant in Catholicism, from kindergarten through eighth grade, but the papist immersion during my most formative years has been the genesis of many of the habits and superstitions of the twenty that’ve followed. One never escapes indoctrination, not completely anyway, and I am living proof, triggering superstition like I used to activate prayer: typically to end a negative, rarely to continue a positive.
Baseball, which itself can be very catholic, is a game rife with superstition. I had enough talent as a pitcher to play in college and receive letters of interest from scouts from four Major League Baseball teams. A scout from the Minnesota Twins even requested my presence at an invitation-only tryout, an hour-long process of demoralization: I knew my aspirations of playing professionally were over the moment the five-foot-nine left-hander throwing a bullpen next to me started chucking 92 MPH heaters on the black. I stood eight inches taller than him, but my fastball limped in five miles slower. The scout thanked me for coming.
We haven’t spoken since.
So I settled: two years of college education on the house at a community college then an eternity of post-game. My playing career died without so much as an acknowledgment in a box score, rostered but unused in my final affiliated game.
My hitting career, sadly, had been dead since my freshman year of high school.
I’d been a good hitter once, batting no lower than fourth for most of my preteen years, but the moment pitchers started spinning breaking balls was the moment coaches began scribbling the designated hitter’s name into my spot in the lineup. I wanted to hit, of course, so one mid-April day, when I found my name in the eight-hole, I leapt to superstition for assistance. On my way from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box, I Spectacles-Testicles-Wallet-and-Watched a bit of Catholicism into my routine and hoped no one saw me do it, embarrassed that my superstition had leaked into public viewing. Most of my superstitions had been hidden: a Newport cigarettes t-shirt beneath my jersey, the gum I swallowed after allowing the first hit of each game I pitched, the stanza of AC/DC lyrics scribbled on the underside of my brim. I’m an introvert by nature, demonstrably so with superstition. Flashing that Sign of the Cross was no small undertaking, but I needed a hit, not to help my team, but to stave off the reality that I just wasn’t good enough any longer.
The result of the ensuing at-bat: a flaccid dribbler that trickled out to the mound. The pitcher barehanded the roller and lobbed a throw to first while I was still thirty feet from the bag. Our coach, like most coaches, made us run out grounders, line drives, and fly balls no matter the outcome, so I was only fifty percent into my sprint by the time I knew my attempt at mixing religion and superstition was an abject disaster. The first base coach was already clapping encouragement to the hitter behind me by the time I dragged my spikes over first.
We went on to win that game.
That night, I visited my grandparents’ house. After dinner, I sat at the kitchen table with Grandma Pat, the two of us alone like we were inside a confessional booth. I had no desire to initiate conversation, stewing about my personal strife even though my team had won. I dropped my forehead to the table and shut my eyes. Put me in a pew and I would’ve looked like I was praying.
“I saw what you did out there,” Grandma Pat finally said like a catcher consoling a Game 7 loser.
“Everyone saw what I did out there,” I said. “I sucked—again.”
“Stop it. I’m not talking about that,” she countered. “I saw you make the Sign of the Cross.”
“Oh yeah,” I mewed. Grandma Pat was a godly woman who sang in the choir and worked as a secretary at the Catholic school I once attended. She was sweet and charitable and selfless and religious, personality traits that too infrequently describe papists. She knew I hadn’t been attending church as regularly as I once had, though she never shamed me. Unlike most Catholics, the laying on of guilt just wasn’t Grandma Pat’s thing.
“Why’d you do that?” she asked.
“I thought it might help.”
“And did it?”
“I grounded out,” I said. “To the pitcher.”
“Are you going to keep crossing yourself?”
“Probably not. It didn’t do anything.”
“Funny how that works, isn’t it?” my grandmother said, then sipped her Slimfast like she was receiving the Eucharist.
For me, baseball, unlike Catholicism, has always been a gateway to relationships. It’s initiated agreements and arguments, happiness and frustration, bittersweet and scrapbooked memories, angst, confidence, a sense of community and a sense of loneliness. And once, like a priest giving penance, it offered me remorse. As Grandma Pat drank her Slimfast, I gradually felt worse and worse, silly and selfish, for trying to use one of the former mechanisms of my Sunday morning routine as a soldier of fortune, as a mercenary sent in to exorcise failure.
It’s for this same reason that I distrust players who, following success at the plate or on the rubber, point to the sky, thank their lord and savior Jesus Christ, or Spectacle-Testicle-Wallet-and-Watch themselves. These same players won’t genuflect following an error or “Hail Mary” themselves after bouncing into a 6-4-3 twin killing. They don’t praise Yahweh for an 0-for-5 day at the dish, nor do they thank all the angels and saints for opening their ears to the heckles raining down from the grandstands like sulfur. A called strike three on a ball clearly six inches inside. A fly ball lost in the sun that’s shining like Let there be light. The mascot who singles them out for a depantsing and a noogie. In the game of baseball, theology hits about .250.
These players, like me, cannot accept one Truth: Grandma Pat, who didn’t say much, was right.
Author's note: "The player pictured on the card is known more for his superstitions than his abilities. Those superstitions are the genesis of my piece."
Matt Muilenburg teaches at the University of Dubuque. His creative nonfiction has been featured or is forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review, Southern Indiana Review, Storm Cellar, Superstition Review, Barnstorm, New Plains Review, and others. Matt, a 2018 Pushcart nominee, holds an MFA from Wichita State University and lives near the Field of Dreams movie site.
Touched by Brushstrokes
Sylvia Jane Eliot, elderly poet, is inclined toward solitude and unembarrassed happiness. "Solitude and unembarrassed happiness," she says to her cat. "A summation of the self." The brevity satisfies her, and the alliteration. She looks again at the painting. Bobby Beausoleil's Hermit's Retreat. She has been living in the artist's tiny painted house. It is she who started the fire in the wood stove, she who keeps it going. Does he know? When the sun begins to set, she lights the kerosene lamps — all of them. The place glows, casts a double shine on the textured receptive body of water. She thinks it's a lake, level, rippled, reflecting.
The moon is up,
the sun is down,
and I am all alone.
The water glows,
the forest flows,
the brushstrokes touch my bone.
She suspects this is doggerel, but what is she to make of the scene, the artist's lovely depiction, essence of innocence? She knows about the crime he committed, his four-plus decades of incarceration, his esoteric spiritual interests, his musical efforts. And his art, much of it too strange for her.
But here is a careful, prayerful painting. Moon-shine and house-shine over lake. Parallel light lines, in the absolute. Hers.
She's quite certain Mr. Beausoleil won't mind that she has taken possession. He'll have moved on to whatever he's painting today. When she gets up from her desk, disinclined to close the computer whose screen holds the tiny house where her soul has gone, she thinks only that soon she might be too old for such a life, flying off into beauty like this, her bones blissfully alone, touched by brushstrokes. Too old, and in one of those places for "care."
She laughs. Truly, she doesn't mind either prospect. "All part of the circle of experience," she tells the cat, who ignores her.
"Or perhaps I lack the necessary imagination." The cat looks up, stares.
No matter how she turns her mind to thoughts of extreme old age and death, no matter how often she visits her friend Emma, centenarian, bed-ridden, dependent, and not far from the end, Sylvia Jane cannot summon the dread so many of her compatriots express. And she certainly doesn't mind that the artist was a murderer.
"Such a long time ago, after all." The cat meows.
She passes her bedroom door, sees the unmade bed. "Oh my. Forgotten again, poor bed, and it's almost noon." The cat finds a dust bunny, sends it scuttling, chases it. His poet owner watches and smiles, makes the bed, hangs her flung nightgown on a hook in the closet, and goes to the kitchen. She heats a can of soup, puts crackers on a plate. She'll read while she eats.
"Blake today, wasn't that the plan?" The cat flings a phantom mouse into the air.
The Four Zoas. A compelling monster of a poem. She's gotten to the Ninth Night once again, is almost at the redemptive end where innocence follows the terrors, rather like the painting, now that she thinks about it. Hermit's Retreat. Such an inviting little lakeside place, spruce trees and mountain peaks for neighbors. She'd thrive there — until the need for groceries arose. Must be miles and miles to the nearest town.
The cat has fallen asleep, a soft gray fur-ball curled into the indigo of his tattered chair, sunlight from the window slanting over him. If she were a painter --
She thinks of her good luck. Among other things, she has lived into the computer age with its abundance of beautifully lit art, more than she'll ever need. Gratitude surges, a brief happy storm of it.
But she's hungry. She sits to soup and crackers and Blake. She does cherish her solitude. Solitude plus cat, that is. And in town, which is only practical. It's possible she'll take another run at Mr. Beausoleil's shamelessly enchanting painting this afternoon, try for a more respectable poem, after her nap.
Ah, yes. After her nap.
Editor's note: The author is responding to a painting featured in an Ekphrastic Review interview with the artist. Bobby Beausoleil paints from prison and shared his thoughts with contributor Anthony Stechyson here.
Shirley Glubka is a retired psychotherapist, the author of three poetry collections, a mixed genre collection, and two novels. The Bright Logic of Wilma Schuh (novel, Blade of Grass Press, 2017) is her latest. Shirley lives in Prospect, Maine with her spouse, Virginia Holmes. Website: http://shirleyglubka.weebly.com/ Online poetry at The Ekphrastic Review here; at 2River View here; at The Ghazal Page here; and at Unlost Journal here.
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John R. Lee
Clarissa Mae de Leon
David Ross Linklater
Gregory E. Lucas
Lorette C. Luzajic
M. L. Lyons
Ariel S. Maloney
John C. Mannone
Mary C. McCarthy
Megan Denese Mealor
Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
Stacy Boe Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
Thomas R. Moore
Mark A. Murphy
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
James B. Nicola
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Andrew K. Peterson
Daniel J. Pizappi
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Molly Nelson Regan
Amie E. Reilly
J. Stephen Rhodes
Ralph La Rosa
Mary Kay Rummell
Mary Harris Russell
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
Kelly R. Samuels
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Courtney O'Banion Smith
Janice D. Soderling
David Allen Sullivan
Kim Cope Tait
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Mary Ellen Talley
Liza Nash Taylor
Janine Pommy Vega
Sue Brannan Walker
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Morgan Grayce Willow
Shannon Connor Winward
William Butler Yeats
Abigail Ardelle Zammit
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