A Bag Lady’s Body In The Financial District
That night when you were hungry, the smoke
of a passing cigarette smelled food
into your nostrils, warm ovens of good
golden bread above a fire stoked
red glowing with coal, where you stood
on the street shivering, a token
to the night, and a passing voice spoke
quickly to a friend sounding love
into your heart, warm golden cheeks above
arms that held you, then was gone
around a corner, and the canyon
of the street echoed the clicking heels
of retreating feet while distant wheels
hummed memories of life, and silence yawned
down toward St. Anthony’s where Christ’s
eyes pierced emptiness as the iced
wind bounced against him like a joke.
And snow started falling like a sheet.
Arthur Powers is author of two collections of poetry published by Finishing Line Press, The Book of Jotham, winner of the 2012 Tuscany Novella Prize, and two volumes of short stories set in Brazil: A Hero for the People and Padre Raimundo’s Army.
He must have been a sailor long ago,
a thin gray ponytail behind his head.
His porcelain dolls were all laid in a row
for those who paid the price to take to bed.
The stench of rotting teeth and sour breath
brought shining tears to vacant, lifeless eyes.
The broken dolls dream of an ice-cold death
but have no will to rise from where they lie.
Perhaps it’s not as bad as it may seem,
each crack caressed with sweet and gentle care.
A fingertip slides deep within the dream
to mend the seams and start a fresh repair.
And as the dolls succumb to night’s delight,
they learn to fade in distant candlelight.
Sonia Beauchamp is a poet and healer on the North Shore of Oahu. Read her most recent work in Screen Door Review and ANMLY. Find out more at www.soniakb.com.
Ode to a Land Mine
Back in this town after twenty-some years
Same heat, same smell
Still easy to find a whore
You took my leg in those northern hills
Then at home, no feeling in my groin
You left me to die
But I live, disabled
In this motorized chair
David Gershan works as a psychologist in Chicago, Illinois. When not at his day job, David can be found indulging in creative writing. He has published works in various literary magazines.
It’s two for one on closures Sir.
Staple, plug or bung for things best kept in;
Button, zip, Velcro, Klipit, vacuum seal,
will allow you to open up sometime.
Cork, stopper, crown cap or screw top
in case you might bubble over.
Child resistant, tamper-proof
for some control of openness.
You need permanent closure sir?
Sorry, it’s next door for coffin lids.
Ian Harley took early retirement from his job as a business systems manager and took a creative writing degree. He discovered technical jargon was not confined to IT and office memos. Ian has two daughters and lives in a dormitory village south of Winchester in England.
My Boys Who Will Never Grow Old
It took years to muster the courage
To assemble the detritus of his loss
So small his mangled body could scarcely
Fill a teacup
Yet so large, dark and consuming, it
Swallowed me up whole
Towed me to the cold depths of darkness
Like a sunken ship once resplendent
Buried in silt and eaten by barnacles
Years passed since that day I saw him
Unviable, without a heartbeat
In a swirl of blood and tissue, to be
Discarded as medical waste.
Not yet human but loved
I gathered the things I bought for him
Now part of the litter of our lives
Boxed them and set them out in the
Neighborhood yard sale
Baby shoes. Never worn.
Onesies. Still in original packaging.
Fit Moms. Spine Uncracked.
Receiving Blankets (Package of 4). Unopened.
Kate Spade Diaper Bag, New With Tags.
A woman whose belly was stretched tight like a drum
Handed me thirty dollars as her wife picked up the box
Avoiding the painful intimacy of neighbors
Our eyes met briefly before they
Walked away with what remained of him
Boudreaux’s Last Summer
In the summer’s weary end is when
I most miss my boy who will never grow old
After the sunflowers’ faces, upturned
And reaching towards the sky
Parched, shriveled and resigned to die
When he’d uproot and seize
Their crusty stalks like a lance
And charge across the yard like
A triumphant conqueror
Vanquishing the last glint of a retreating sun
C. Christine Fair is an associate professor within the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Her research covers the political and military events of South Asia, and she has published nonfiction extensively. Her personal website is christinefair.net.
Live from the Sidewalk, It’s Me!
I’m walking along the sidewalks where I live
in a hurry but too fast for my age
and weight and mission and I think
if I keep this up I’m going to drop dead
right here in River City but forget the
seventy-six trombones what I don’t want
But what do I want I ask myself
besides not dropping dead. Well I want
to get where I’m going and don’t ask where
that is because I forgot which is easy to do
at my age (and weight.) Probably I want
to know the meaning of life although that
can wait until I get where I’m going which
may take a while because—as you may
have noticed—I’m slowing down a little
not to smell the roses mind you, it’s just
that at my age and—well you know the rest.
Hey, here we are at the mailbox and damn!
There goes the mail truck.
Edmund Conti has written more poems than you can shake a stick at. And many people have. Shake if you want. Conti will continue to Rattle and Roll. (Mostly former.)
Use these link buttons to visit our other poetry pages, fiction, non-fiction, and the interview!