Archives for posts with tag: divorce

On the Edge
by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm

Your mother’s out dancing
and your father’s romancing
they can’t stand the sight
of the child that blights
the booze fuelled conscience
of a life that once was
a family affair.

You sit on the stairs
the silent sobs hurt
as your mum and your dad
on the phone fight like mad
for you cramp their style
all their hatred and bile
matrimonial war
they don’t want you
no more.

Another friend’s settee
another temporary home
your hair lank and greasy
only fingers for a comb
A lick and a spit
is all you can hope
last night’s kebab
cold water and soap.

Yesterday’s pants
under last week’s old clothes
is the scent that perfumes
your sad teenage nose
now you live from a suitcase
and you’re wearing your game face
stiff upper lip and don’t let the mask slip
through emotions on fire
until they enquire

How are you?

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, at 17 (Chesterfield, UK, 1982).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My parents divorced when I was young. I lived with my father until he decided to remarry. As both parents had remarried there was no longer a place for me in either household. I spent several months sleeping on friends’ floors or settees until my college found out what was happening and helped organise lodgings.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexandra Carr-Malcolm was born and raised in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. She now lives in Yorkshire and works as a freelance British Sign Language Interpreter within the Yorkshire region. She has been featured in many collaborative anthologies by Dagda Publishing, where part of the proceeds are donated to worthy charities.Her first anthology Tipping Sheep (the right way) was released in 2013. Her second anthology, Counting Magpies, was released in October 2015. Her poems can be found on her blog

I Visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
a Few Months after My Divorce

by Jennifer Finstrom

and know, without wading into the water, that it is both cold and deep. I should have worn my necklace made from shipwreck pottery, ceramic fragment smoothed by tongues of sand, sliver of broken plate speaking the language of mourning brooches worn by Victorian ladies.

When the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her crew on November 10, 1975, I was six years old. Twenty years later, the ship’s bronze bell was brought to the surface, the centerpiece of the museum. It will be what I remember most from this visit, and I want to put out my hand and stroke its cold flank, listen for what it can tell me of silence.

Later, walking the beach, I imagine what mermaids would swim off Whitefish Point, see them in winter coats with shiny fish scales in place of fur. They circle the lighthouse, carry spears instead of tridents, bear souls in their arms to an underwater Valhalla.

I take six stones with me when I leave. They stand for someone’s death. I don’t know whose.

PHOTOGRAPH: The bell from the SS Edmund Fitzgerald on display at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula comes into my poetry quite often, and even though I’ve vacationed in other places over the years, when I read this call for submissions, I knew that I’d write something about the UP.

Finstrom Vacation

Jennifer Finstrom
 teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates a writing group, Writers Guild, at DePaul University. She has been the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine since October of 2005, and recent publications include Escape Into LifeMidwestern GothicNEAT, and YEW Journal. She also has work appearing in the Silver Birch Press The Great Gatsby Anthology and forthcoming in the Alice in Wonderland Anthology.

PHOTO: The author on vacation (in Evanston, near her home city of Chicago) this year.

Revelations in a Burger Chef
by Amie Heasley

Mother      your quiet face.
I knew what you were really saying.

Dad wasn’t on business.
Dad wasn’t coming back.
You told us at Burger Chef.
My brother giggled between French fries.
I squirted ketchup, red and salty like your heart.
Men in white paper hats cleaned up our trash.

Mother      your quiet face.
You wanted to take us to Disneyworld.

But Dad was already there.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: My school picture from first grade in Plainwell, Michigan. My grandmother (father’s mother) made the sundress I am wearing.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Our communication style stems from the communication style of our parents, whether we’d like to admit or dispel that fact. When I wrote this poem, I was nearing the end of my MFA, and had been given an exercise to “borrow” a line from one of the poets we’d studied over the course of the semester. I chose Jean Valentine’s poem “Lines from a Story” and the line “Mother    your quiet face” as a springboard for this particular poem. I hoped my poem would echo both the struggle to communicate and the strength to endure of Valentine’s poem, while giving a glimpse of one of the most pivotal conversations I recall my mother having with me as a child.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amie Heasley graduated with an MFA in fiction from Western Michigan University in 2006. Most recently, her fiction has appeared online at Petrichor, The Boiler Journal, Corium, Juked, and Prick of The Spindle. She, along with her beloved husband, daughter, and dog, calls Kalamazoo home.