Sentimental Poetry edited by Anthony Watkins

                    Mama

 

Are you there, Mama?

The world is such a scary place.

I just can’t wait to see your face.

Will you be waiting when I get there, Mama?

 

Are you there, Mama?

There’s a monster ‘neath my bed.

I tugged the blankets ‘round my head.

But will you stay until I sleep, Mama?

 

Are you there, Mama?

I fell and scraped my hands and knees.

I washed and dried the cuts, but please . . .

Could you check them after work, Mama?

 

Are you there, Mama?

No, I didn’t make the squad.

All my friends did . . . I felt so odd.

When will I know my special gift, Mama?

 

Are you there, Mama?

Isn’t it a gorgeous ring?

I guess at some point in the spring.

I had to tell you first about it, Mama.

 

Are you there, Mama?

Looks like a baby’s on the way.

The doctor says one day in May.

I’ll be a mother just like you, Mama!

 

Are you there, Mama?

He says he’s yearning to be free.

I begged him, “Say what's wrong with me.”

Could you come and help me through this, Mama?

 

Are you there, Mama?

The phone’s been ringing for so long,

I almost thought you weren’t at home.

Are you sure you’re feeling alright, Mama?

 

Are you there, Mama?

Do you feel like talking now?

A fresh cold cloth across your brow?

Or maybe I’ll just sit here with you, Mama.

 

Are you there, Mama?

The world is such a scary place.

I just can’t wait to see your face.

Will you be waiting when I get there, Mama?

 

 

Kim Overton’s poems have been published in Happiness and Once Upon a Time as well as some work-related company publications.

Summer Romance

 

cardinal pair

gently kissing

in shade of pine branches

 

beak to beak

these tiny things

share seeds as summer glows

 

ageless songs

declare their love

and proclaim boundless joy

 

 

Phil Huffy

Fraught

 

In a box upon a stand

Adorned in satin and lace

Gentle lay she with stilled breath

With no one to hold her hand

Whisper white trimmed in roses

Perfume their fragrant scent

Eternally lifted soul

My dear who forever rests

Plunge deep my sorrowful heart

Ravage filled my tired life

Glory are her memories

That do fill my weary mind

I look perhaps she teases

Asleep in deepest slumber

For soon her eyes will open

And I take her hand in mine

Fraught the gate of yesterday

Her echoes of long ago

Regret for the discarded

A castle empty of love

I retreat to pastures green

Of lilies and roses sweet

Innocence longed and received

This bereft reminiscing

Sweet Jesus please take me

To where you and I always

Breathe deep our ever-after

Intact beloved family.

 

Tissy Taylor

June

 

This month when I came home, my mother’s bones looked

like they had been sharpened into points.

This is the same month she told me that I’m killing myself with food,

and she cried and held onto all eighty-six pounds of herself while she spoke,

swallowed words, spoke again.

 

She looked at my frame like something untouchable.

This month I lost twelve pounds, counted every calorie,

googled the caloric value of one Frito and decided against.

 

The day I left for my final semester away, my mother cried in fear

that I would refuse to take care of myself. As I packed my bag

she gave me reminders in a language that was supposed to mean,

I love you, please be safe, but said

 

A granola bar is as bad for you as a cookie

And a cookie a day is twelve pounds in a year

Two cups of cookie dough ice cream is six hundred calories

A single bagel is equal to six pieces of wheat bread

No one needs cream in their coffee

 

No one needs to eat like that.

 

I love my mother in the same way I eat.

I consume every word she says to me. I roll my eyes,

but in the coming days I feel it seep into my blood, 

slide down to nest in my stomach.

A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.

 

I am becoming her like I decide where every calorie

I eat has found rest in my body and feel it become me.

I drink every tear my mother cries each time I leave her pristine home

for my dusty apartment filled with fruit flies and granola bar wrappers,

and frozen meals, and cinnamon rolls.

 

This month, my mother told me to do it––

lose weight, that unspeakable saturated thing––for me,

not for anyone else, and I told her I never felt my own weight so much

until this month, when I swallowed every word she spoke to me whole.

 

 

Claire Grace

The Eye of a Trout

 

“. . . There are so few activities on South Uist that residents have evolved an unusually low threshold of amusement.” . . . from an article in the New Yorker about a golf course on a small Scottish island.

 

Maybe if we hadn’t attended all the pains of the day—

     We might have known how sweet stillness can be.

Maybe if we’d sat by the river instead of walking upstream,

      Against the current. Maybe then we’d catch

 

The eye of a trout, the glints of its rainbow. Or better yet—

      If we stood in the flow long enough

It would thicken with the coming frost; and the almost dormant

       Salamander would let us watch his spots darken.

 

Maybe if we could wait for a cloud to canopy our heads—

      And then an oak, then a slung rock and then, who knows?

Maybe the cloud would—for maybe minutes—be reflected

       In the pool that gathered itself around our pleading feet.

 

What if we lived on a small Scottish island, and there

      Was only the moody sky, the waving grass, and

The slow beating of a heart against our own

       To tell us we are not (never were) alone?

 

 

Ross Lehman has been a theatre actor, playwright and director for forty years. He has four Broadway shows to his credit, and six of his plays have been produced in Chicago where he has won five Joseph Jefferson Awards, and 13 nominations for his acting. He has published short stories as well as poetry.

Lost Property Office, Capwell Depot.

 

Collecting your bags, I dimly recall

My dad, Pat, carrying me in here shoulder high.

Conductor bag jangling as he bagged the cash.

And we’d sit in the canteen watching the buses being washed

Out back, while he’d let me sip on his coffee and cream.

 

My messages laden mother would come pick me up.

I’d insist we’d sit upstairs, going home on the bus.

Upstairs, on the one in front, he’d be waving at us.

 

I reclaim your shopping and add it to my own,

Under the combined load, struggle to the door.

In the attendant downpour, flailing for a cab.

 

He’s lighter now, than I was on his back,

But he wouldn’t want it, and I’ve never asked.

Haven’t seen him take coffee since, neither, white nor black.

 

previously published in The Quarryman Vol 3 (UCC press)

 

 

Niki Mullins is originally from Cork, Ireland and currently works as a Medicinal Research Chemist in Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland. He has previously been published in The Quarryman Vol 3 (UCC press).