Archives for the month of: April, 2017

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Lost-n-found: A watch
By Sunil Sharma

Lost-n-found has got its
Own charm. Like a Bollywood flick, its own appeal and logic.
A kid brother first lost in a carnival — and then found as an adult. That is
Life — -plain boring; for some, a bit dramatic and strange.
This watch!
Gifted by a friend, when I was turning gray on temples, not in mind.
It was a small memento of a love hardly found these days
In a culture on a transactional mode.
Lost it one morning and searched in every nook and corner
Of my suburban Mumbai apartment but, as happens in such situations,
You fail to see the old specs on your nose, while raising hell on a Sunday humid morn!
So, dear readers, it happened, I searched every corner, cleaning the cobwebs
Here-there and cursing.
No watch! Whenever I met my friend, I would cover
My wrists with sleeves on hot days but
The good ol’friend won’t mind the charade.
Then, last month, cleaning the innards of the crowded cupboard, I found the watch –sitting there pretty in a box, amid other objects, a box daily seen, yet unseen!
And I shouted Eureka!
And uncovered my wrists
Again in the remainder days of the coastal summer
For my delighted office friend.

IMAGE: Drawing of astronomical clock by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem celebrates the joys and pain of losing and recovering little objects that constitute our mundane world.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mumbai-based, Sunil Sharma writes prose and poetry, apart from doing literary journalism and freelancing. A senior academic, he has been published in some of the leading international journals and anthologies. Sunil has published three collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, and one novel and has co-edited five books of poetry, short fiction, and literary criticism. He is the recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award, 2012.  Another notable achievement is that his select poems were published in the prestigious UN project  Happiness: The Delight-Tree (2015). He edits English section of the monthly Setu, a bilingual journal from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Finders Keepers
by Erin K. Parker

I found the ring on the ground next to the entrance to the miniature golf course. Gasping in surprise, I bent down to pick it up, and held it up to my dad. He took it between his fingers and smiled.

“It’s pretty!” he said, and handed it back to me.

The ring was silver and had a knot etched on the top. I slipped it on to my first finger, and it fit perfectly. I’d never had a ring before.

“Well, look at that!” my dad said. “It’s your lucky day.”

“Aren’t we supposed to turn it in?” I reluctantly asked, already feeling the loss.

“No, why would you do that? Finders, keepers,” he said, winking.

I kept the ring on all day while we shot bright golf balls through windmills and over small bridges. The sun was bright and we were smiling. When I picked up my yellow golf ball, the ring clacked against the hard plastic. I stood up straighter, laughed louder, and felt special. I had a new ring.

Later, I pushed the thoughts of the girl who had lost the ring out of my head, and told anyone who would listen that my dad gave me the ring as a present. Not for my birthday or anything, but just because he saw it and knew I would like it. Because he loved me and wanted me to have something pretty.

I told the story so often that I started to believe it.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A ring that looks like the one I found that day.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: At some point I started to hate that ring and I stopped wearing it. The guilt of not turning it in caught up to me, and it became a constant reminder of my dad’s emotional distance. I am not sure what happened to it, but I no longer have it. I’d like to think someone else found it and it brought them joy.

PHOTO: The author at age nine.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Erin K. Parker
won her first Creative Writing contest when she was 11, and has been writing ever since. Her work has been published by Uno Kudo, Red Fez, Drunk Monkeys, Cadence Collective, Lost in Thought, Timid Pirate Publishing, The Altar Collective, Santa Fe Lit Review, Lucid Moose Lit, and the Alice in Wonderland Anthology from Silver Birch Press. Erin was nominated for Best of the Net 2014. Her collection of short stories, The Secret and the Sacred, was published by Unknown Press and is available at Amazon.com.

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Umbrella Lost
by Katherine Edgren

My open umbrella dries damply on the floor
recalling another circled, portable protector:
collapsible with hinged ribs
big enough for a garrulous giant
rakish handle at a
                         rakish angle
gift from my young son, bought with a wad
that burned a hole in his pocket
on a World’s Fair vacation with indulgent Grandparents
in a city I can’t even remember
it was so long ago.

Dear, darling Doris and I were
plotting over pancakes at a local hole.
Sleep mustn’t yet have abandoned my muzzy head,
because I

               ***LOST*** the umbrella.

(The sky must have stopped its dripping and when I left,
I forgot my capacious canopy. Later
I went back to search where it never was
–even in the trunk of Doris’ car—)

GONE GONE GONE —
like a diamond down the drain
eluding, evading, escaping without me,
wings flapping an unseen farewell.

Something so precious,
LOST,
***and losing it the first time I used it***

Part of me has to believe
someone stole it (shhhhhhh)

Even now on dreary days,
I find myself watching for the waving of my prized parasol
over the heads of strangers-thieves-parasites.
( Um-brella Sun-brella Un-brella)

Thus paranoia planted its hairy beet-root
and began its expansion deep and wide.
I still mourn my lost brolly, my umbrolly,
my parapluie, my bumbershoot.

IMAGE: “Still Life with Peaches and Umbrella” by Andre Denoyer de Segonzac (1884-1974).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I wrote this piece in an on-line class on metaphor taught by Jennifer Burd, as a part of the Loft Literary Center. It’s all true.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In 2017
Katherine Edgren
’s book of poetry, The Grain Beneath the Gloss, will be published by Finishing Line Press, where her previous two chapbooks: Long Division (2014) and Transports (2009) were also published. Her poems have appeared in Christian Science Monitor, Birmingham Poetry Reviiew, and Barbaric Yawp, among others. She was born in 1950 and is a retired social worker who lives in Dexter, Michigan, with her husband and her dog. Visit her at kkedgren.wordpress.com.

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What Are The Odds?
by Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

The day Braniff Air
went bankrupt,
fleet grounded,
radio bulletins said
other carriers
would help.
And I,
stuck with a ticket,
lost my wallet.
I pulled into McDonald’s
on the way to the airport,
fumbled for my billfold.
Gone?
I dumped out my purse,
flung clothes
from my bag.
Gone!
I thumped my forehead —
I’d left it on the car roof
while packing!
The wingless leather clutch
had flown away.
I pictured skid marks
on my family photos,
a stranger whipping out
my Discover card,
the boarding pass
muddied mush.
Two weeks later,
a trucker called.
He’d collected everything
strewn along an overpass.
He smiled at my reward —
a bear hug, coffee and pie.

IMAGE: “Accessories” by Joan Brown (1971).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The inspiration for this poem is true. My husband and I were on our way to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport in a rainstorm the day Braniff grounded its fleet. We were going to see about changing our tickets to Kansas City, Missouri, to another airline. This was before iPhones, etc. Unfortunately, my husband remembered he’d placed his wallet on the roof of the car as we packed. It flew off, and we had to turn back, because one couldn’t fly without one’s driver’s license. Some weeks later, a man called and said he’d found everything!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sylvia Riojas Vaughn is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She has been selected as a Houston Poetry Fest Juried Poet three times.  She belongs to the Dallas Poets Community. Her work appears in The Arachneed Journal, Red River Review, Triadæ, HOUSEBOAT, Diálogo, Desde Hong Kong: Poets in conversation with Octavio Paz, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems (Dos Gatos Press, 2016), and anthologies and journals in the U.S. and abroad. Find her on LinkedIn.

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Circle Round
by Angela Cannon-Crothers

The Appalachian Trail in Vermont. My first child was born in Vermont. I was married in Vermont, on a hill top. A simple ceremony: Justice of the Peace, a witness, two gold rings. Six years later I am the mother of two and freshly fleshed from divorce, trail guiding back in Vermont. Not much pay, but a much needed vacation. Days in, after huffing up mountains carrying group gear, extra gear for those unable, and brewing Earl Gray for our elder hiker each morning, I was gifted a late afternoon respite at Stratton Pond. I sat out on a log over the water, discovering half hidden newts with finny tails and red bellies, like gems, swimming below. Newts transform twice in their lifetimes, from water to land, and back again. Like me. Shimmer of sun. Cold skinny dip in clear water. After, I was rummaging deep within my backpack for a bandanna to dry off with, when I felt it. My wedding ring. Having thought it was lost and gone for good I nearly laughed out loud at the pure coincidence of finding it here, back in Vermont. I rolled the dull gold around my fingers, memories circling. Pulling my arm behind, with great force, I threw the ring out toward the center of Stratton Pond. Here it would settle to the weedy bottom, a play thing for bright bellied newts and sparkling water. There it would always be. This, at least, would never be lost again.

IMAGE: “The Charmer” by John William Waterhouse (1911).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece of prose for the “Lost and Found” Series came from a 4,000-word chapter in my unpublished memoir on the spirit of place. The ending is still, essentially, the same.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angela Cannon-Crothers is a writer, naturalist, environmental educator, and college instructor in environmental science and writing. She was a finalist for the AROHO Orlando Prize for Nonfiction in 2011. Her work includes a book, Our Voices, Our Wisdom; An Herb Haven Year, a children’s book: Grape Pie Season, and a novel: The Wildcrafter. Her articles and essays have appeared in Orion, Northern Woodlands, Life in the Finger Lakes, BackHome, and the literary journal Stone Canoe. She lives on a small farm, in a bermed house, in the Finger Lakes of New York, while she finishes raising her youngest teenager daughter. She thinks that someday soon she may try a wilder, more wanderlust, life again.

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The Gold Amulet
by Pallabi Roy

It was not just a pricey yellow metal
that still berates my soul
for not holding on to it.
It was rather to me an empyrean that housed
an angel sent by you, Ma,
to ward off all the evils around me.

I deplore losing it,
not for its elegant and antique design,
but your prayers etched on its surface,
not for the sparkles and glitters,
but your blessings shining through it.
I could not treasure it, Ma!
When it hanged around my neck
like a buckler in a war.

Ma, it was a legacy of love
bequeathed to you by Grandma
that you had hoped to live on.
But it could not cling to my heart
like I always did to its.

That gold amulet
broke up with me,
and taught me a lesson.
Losing is not about ruing when it is gone,
it is about cherishing when it is our own.

IMAGE: “Public Pool for Daytime Swimming” by Joyce Kozloff (1984).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The subject of the poem is a gold amulet, passed on from many generations of my mother’s family. I lost it during an aquatic meet in my college days. When it was with me, I considered it just a piece of jewelry. Only after losing the amulet did I realize how much I should have valued it to keep the good luck flowing in.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Based in New Delhi, India, Pallabi Roy is a technical communicator by profession and a creative writer by passion. She has penned numerous flash fictions and poems in English and Assamese, and her work has appeared in The Assam Tribune, Prantik, The Sentinel, and other publications. When she veers from her writing schedule, she is either traveling through water (a former competitive swimmer!) or trekking through some hills in North India.

PHOTO: The author during a recent trekking trip to Ooty, Tamil Nadu.

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Two Rings
by Kathleen Naureckas

I almost lost my engagement ring in
the big bowl of candy I had filled
for trick-or-treaters one Halloween.
I’d recently dropped a lot of weight;
I thought about having the ring resized
but didn’t, even after I almost
lost it in the candy bowl. I didn’t
lose it then because I saw it fall and
rescued it. Then I lost it, really lost
it, somewhere in the house where I
no longer live. I thought I lost it in
the bedroom, and that’s where I spent
the most time looking for it. I hoped it
would turn up under the bed or dresser
when I moved, but it remained lost,
unless the new owners found it.

I lost my engagement ring, although I
never lost the wedding ring I wore on
the same finger. To keep it company
I got a new diamond ring, another
solitaire. I chose it by myself, but
my husband went with me to pick it up
after it was sized. We used his credit
card to pay the balance so it would seem
more like a real engagement ring. He didn’t
drop to one knee to give it to me, though.
He was using a wheelchair by then.

The first ring had a third-of-a-carat
diamond, but the jeweler my husband-
to-be bought it from told him it was
almost flawless. The new diamond was not
much bigger—barely half a carat—and
no one said anything about flaws.

By the time I moved to the house where I
live now, my husband was dead. I offered
the ring to my granddaughter when she
became engaged. She and her fiancé
had it reset, surrounding the lone original
stone with other, smaller ones. Her ring
looks nothing like either one of mine.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My granddaughter Caitlin showing off her ring (not the granddaughter in the poem).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem was inspired by the LOST & FOUND call for submissions.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathleen Naureckas is a retired journalist whose poems have appeared in a variety of journals, including Bluestem, Light, Measure, and Willow Review. Her poem “Pie Crust” appeared in the Silver Birch Press “My Sweet Word” Series. Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, For the Duration, in 2012. Visit her chapbook’s Facebook page.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My husband, Ed Naureckas, and me in the house where we lived at the time I lost the engagement ring.

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My Stupid Lost Necklace
by Susan W. Goldstein

I lose things. Quite often. I have this terrible habit of throwing possessions into any old drawer that I pass by. It drives my husband crazy, because nothing is ever in the same place twice. And it can be extremely annoying. For example, I knew that I had been holding the car keys before breakfast: how could they be missing now, a mere 20 minutes later? This adds a degree of stress to my life that I really fail to enjoy. I become obsessed, a crazy woman tearing the house apart until I remember that I had stuffed the keys into my pocket. But let’s not dwell on that.

The following items are currently Missing in Action: a pearl and Austrian crystal necklace; a favorite blouse; a special photo of my sons. This really bothers me. I would say that the house is inhabited by a playful poltergeist, but we have moved at least three times while these items remained missing. Unless ghosts move with you?

I had a special event and wanted to wear the necklace, mentioned above. I was determined to find it, so I upended my jewelry box; I emptied my underwear drawer (like I said: I put things in the strangest places); I inspected the house inch by inch. I could not find it anywhere. Finally, I had no choice but to drive to the mall to find a replacement. I reached into my glove compartment for my GPS and . . . in a flash, remembered that three years ago, I had taken the necklace and thrown it in said glove compartment because it was too heavy on my neck. And there it was, a tangled jumble just waiting to be found! My stupid necklace.

IMAGE: “Jeanne Hebuterne with Necklace” by Amedeo Modigliani (1917).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The words “lost” and “found” conjure up my peripatetic set of car keys, which I am constantly misplacing. My husband has gotten used to my hysterical outbursts when yet another prized possession goes missing. And then he is the recipient of the requisite apology for my bad behavior, after the prized possession is found. I know, I know: I should follow his advice and put things back where I found them. But that is just too easy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Susan W. Goldstein
 has relocated over 15 times in her lifetime; it is False News that she is in the Witness Protection Program. She has, however, found paradise in Delray Beach, Florida, with her husband and his dog (when said dog pukes on the carpet) and her dog (when said dog is being cute). She was first published in Silver Birch Press (!!!), followed by Mothers Always Write, Mamalode, JustBe Parenting, Lunch Ticket and, soon, Parent Co. Follow her blog at very-seriously.com.

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Some time in May 2017, the Silver Birch Press blog will reach a significant milestone — one million total views! As of today — April 27, 2017 — we have hit 990,090 views! Thanks so much to our daily followers, readers, and all of our contributors for this amazing accomplishment! We started the blog on June 24, 2012 — and it’s been a great five-year ride! Our deepest thanks to all of our supporters! Onward!

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Into the Lake
by Penny Harter

Gone now the fading pink plastic
drinking cup, slowly degrading at
the bottom of Lake Hopatcong,

the very cup Nana had used, the one
that lived on a wooden shelf below the
mirror above the pitted bathroom sink.

The cup was atop a laden paper bag,
and I accidentally knocked it from the raft
taking us and my newly grieving Poppy

to an island where the family cottage
roosted among dark pines. I lost the cup
overboard, and Poppy screamed.

His anguish echoes even now, a glissando
running up and down the keys of the
out-of-tune upright piano that sat in

the parlor of his brown-shingled house
on a tree-lined suburban street.
And in the house’s ample pantry,

another pitted porcelain sink, and the
lingering scent of almost burnt toast
redeemed by cinnamon and liberal sugar.

Once, my husband and I revisited
that past. I mounted the peeling steps
to knock on the door, then peered into

the living-room window looking for Nana
and Poppy, for my mother, and for
the stained-glass window blessing the

landing at the foot of the stairs. Thank
God it was still there, still prisming sunlight
into radiant dust, but the rest had long gone

one-by-one into the lake, settling like years
of layered silt, though sometimes rising
to cloud the reedy bottom.

SOURCE: Previously published online in Visual Arts Collective.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Losing that pink cup is one of the enduring memories from my childhood. I was around 12 when my grandmother died. Witnessing my grandfather’s grief doubled my own, and the cup loss became symbolic. Then, while writing about that loss, I found myself revisiting my grandparents’ house in South Orange, New Jersey, also feeling the loss of time and place. But one can’t “go home again” except, perhaps, in the reliving that comes with writing about the past.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Penny Harter’s recent books include The Resonance Around Us (2013); One Bowl  (2012); and Recycling Starlight (2010; reprint 2017). Recent work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in a number of journals, including Adanna, Persimmon Tree, Rattle, Tiferet, and Tattoo Highway, as well as in numerous anthologies. A featured reader at both the first (1985) and the 2010 Dodge Poetry Festivals, she has won three fellowships from the NJSCA; the Mary Carolyn Davies Award from the PSA; and two residencies from VCCA ( January 2011; March 2015). She lives in the southern New Jersey shore area.