In Wait, by Holly Day

In Wait
by Holly Day

I wrap my thoughts around the egg inside me
tie my nest with hopes and dreams
will my body full of feathers
fluff and bubblewrap.

Each step leads me to disaster. I
could trip and fall and lose it all.

I wrap myself in blankets and pills
cradle my stomach in warmth
close windows against drafts and rain
barricade the door against wolves outside.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

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The Flood, by Holly Day

The Flood
by Holly Day

The coffins float to the surface
like rebellious architecture, buoyed by the floodwaters
that have shaken everything loose. We pass sandbags
hand over hand to build a wall between us and the river
shouting panicked instructions to the trucks to bring more.

The water pouring in from the river is frigid and cold
numbing ankles and hands, but the water
running off of the bloated cemetery is warm, as though the water
is carrying the last breath and embrace of the dead
across the grounds to keep us from freezing.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

The Morning After a Funeral We Didn’t Attend, by Holly Day

The Morning After a Funeral We Didn’t Attend
by Holly Day

I found her the next morning, feeding stacks of old birthday cards
handwritten letters into the paper shredder. “He never loved me,” she said
by way of explanation, calmly feeding the first of a pile of faded photographs
into the shredder as I watched. “There’s bacon in the kitchen.”

I tried to reach out to stop her hand from pushing more and more
of my grandfather into the metal shears that were snipping him down to nothing
but it was her father first, my grandfather second, what right did I have?
“He loved you,” I said, watching helpless
as a picture of a blond-haired girl in pigtails
holding onto the outstretched darker hand of a man
fell into the metal waste basket in irretrievable strips.
She laughed and waved a thick handful of bills at me

justification for erasing her father so completely.
“How do you write someone you love out of your will?” she asked.
“Why is my stepsister getting everything? He even forgot about you!”
I almost said something about
how she hadn’t visited her father for years, while her stepmother’s family
had been a constant in his life up to the end,
how maybe there wasn’t anything left
after the nursing home and the hospice, but I don’t, because
that’s my father’s job.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

Time Passes, by Holly Day

Time Passes
by Holly Day

There are people I once saw young on TV
that are now old on TV. I refuse to admit
that this means I’ve grown old as well
that the passage of time has split to bypass me
like the river that split to pass around Moses
in that movie I saw
with that guy who’s now dead.

My children keep getting older
even though I tell them
they don’t have to. I show them how time
has forgotten me in its wake
that I’m the same person I was
before they were born they
don’t believe me.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

Offerings for the Dead, by Alan Walowitz

Offerings for the Dead
by Alan Walowitz

Second thoughts sometimes detract
from who you figured you might be
in the distillery of your dreams–
you’d help those in need, comfort the afflicted,
mourn the dead, or at least offer compassion
to those who had been much closer
and in words they could easily take in at a time like this.
A sincere “I don’t know what to say” often turns out
to be better receiving-line chatter
than “My condolences, Ma’am, though
I don’t have the faintest notion who you are.”
Such expressions are often distracting,
and you end up in a handshake that knows no end,
or, God forbid, you hug a stranger
for much too long, and in this dance you have nothing more to say,
and instead begin to babble tidbits from the past–
memories that might just as well be inventions–
and before long you’re blubbering when
all you wanted was a little silent weeping in a corner,
far from the sight of the deceased, who you really liked,
your voice cracking at the seams and any thing
real you were planning to say jumbled and fumfered
like your own worst vision of yourself,
a kid whose mother dragged him to a wake–
where he might at least have learned something useful
for later in life when his mother is gone.

Process notes: I was recently informed that a well-loved poetry teacher, Colette Inez, had passed away, and I just started writing. I didn’t know what the poem would turn out to be. My guess is she would have approved of a poem that doesn’t know where it’s headed at first. It’s certainly not meant to be a memorial for her; she would deserve much better, much richer; it’s much more a memento mori for myself. alanwalowitz.com

Alan Walowitz has been published in various places on the web–and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an online journal, and teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and St. John’s University in Queens. Alan’s chapbook, Exactly Like Love, was published by Osedax Press in 2016 and is now in its second printing.

Fire, by Felicia Mitchell

Fire
by Felicia Mitchell

It is what I fear, fire,
the random wire fraying in a wall
where a mouse prefers to nest
or an electronic stove with digital dial—
turning itself on sometimes,
as if a spirit haunts the kitchen.
You cannot fight fire with water.
Outside, when I need a flame,
I never worry about the wind
the way I worry about wires.
I am as cautious as an electrician.
I know too I am in safe there,
outside, the earth no cauldron
that will ever boil over—
except when it does.
I know natural disasters happen,
the way electrical fires happen,
and I have seen houses burn
and floods consume neighborhoods
and wind topple homes like toys.
Just not in my home.
Not today, a mouse as surprising as a god
deciding what comes next.

Process notes: “Fire” shows how I feel sometimes my life is in the hands of a mouse (truly, one once did nibble a wire that could have burned the house down); that fear is juxtaposed by the natural fears that come with surviving cancer, losing a brother, etc.

Felicia Mitchell, a native of South Carolina, has made her home in the mountains of Virginia since 1987. She writes poetry and essays, and a recent poetry collection is Waltzing with Horses (Press 53, 2014). Mitchell teaches at Emory & Henry College. http://www.feliciamitchell.net/

Chemo Brainstorm, by Felicia Mitchell

Chemo Brainstorm
by Felicia Mitchell

Until you have no hair,
you will never know
how it feels to feel the wind
that used to blow through your hair
as you hiked across a mountain.
Once, hair got in your face.
Once, hair got as tangled as life can.
Even then, it was your glory.

In death, a life without its spirit,
goes back to earth,
ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
In life, a body is as alive as it can be,
even facing the fire that will consume it
when all is said and done.
The wind blows and blows,
hair or no hair, and you learn to feel
how it feels to feel the wind
in all the ways it is possible to feel
when you know you are mortal
and can still hike across that mountain.

Felicia Mitchell, a native of South Carolina, has made her home in the mountains of Virginia since 1987. She writes poetry and essays, and a recent poetry collection is Waltzing with Horses (Press 53, 2014). Mitchell teaches at Emory & Henry College. http://www.feliciamitchell.net/

Chakra Tuning, by Felicia Mitchell

Chakra Tuning
by Felicia Mitchell

After a long freeze,
I wait for the fire of the sun
to thaw my yard.
And then I go outside.
Today, I stood there,
my bare feet planted like saplings
in the wet earth.
From the porch, wind chimes
tuned to all the chakras chimed
until my spirit chimed too.
After a few minutes,
mindful of the call of walls,
and how cold feet can get,
I had to go back inside
but my chakras were tuned.

Felicia Mitchell, a native of South Carolina, has made her home in the mountains of Virginia since 1987. She writes poetry and essays, and a recent poetry collection is Waltzing with Horses (Press 53, 2014). Mitchell teaches at Emory & Henry College. http://www.feliciamitchell.net/

I’ve Stopped Looking, by Joseph M. Felser

I’ve Stopped Looking
by Joseph M. Felser

I listen to music
read some books
halfway through
forgotten tomes
gathering dust
on my shelves
feed hungry birds
in my backyard
eat dinner
with an old friend
in the Mexican place
write poems
like this
all just distractions
I stopped looking
for you
a long time ago
all I see now
are scratches
on my lenses
sinuous spots
floating before
my eyes
twisted snakes
hissing about some
forbidden fruit
I no longer
seek

Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate from The University of Chicago and teaches philosophy in Brooklyn, New York. The author of numerous articles and two books on philosophy, religion, myth, and parapsychology, he recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals.

Intertwined, by Debi Swim

Intertwined
by Debi Swim

There have been times…
when the mountains push against the sky
when milky mist crowns its proud head
when the sun shines forth to shrivel the fog
and the mountains gleam in golden liquid light…
(Oh, my soul soars in wondrous delight)
and I think I can never leave such a world.

There have been times…
when love seemed beyond repair
when fearful dread abducted my peace
when a casket sank into the ground
and I turned from that empty space
(Oh, my soul became a chill and lonesome place)
and I think I don’t want to live in such a world.

Death at times is a heavy weight
at times a great release
I have prayed for both
to live, to die
and yet there is a time for each.
(Oh, my soul these twin twigs you pleach)
and I think what a lovely arbor to walk beneath.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.