Archives for posts with tag: poetry

by Annasofia Padua

The day I found my mother’s journals,
I was bathing in similarities stamped onto her pictures.

There has always been something about her that I want to relate to.

There is a whole earth in the stories,
a world in which her skin was the soil.

Her words were the natural disasters,
threatening to shake their way out from her mouth,
from her pores.

They told me her hair grew as fast as mine,
I wrote in a story one time that it was because
I had all this energy my heart couldn’t pump out,

I think it was true in her case.

I remember the day I found her journals as I
was sunk by the slow digestion of my grandma’s cooking,
everything seems to run quicker in the States.

it’s like my ancestry pulls me by my shoulders
and my ankles even my stomach,

like I could melt into the pavement
and a native flower would grow in my place,

in the States it feels like anything will
eat me up before that happens.

I was holding up truths that seemed accurate to me,
while observing how light bounced off her cheeks
and how she could harvest it at the same time.

My nose was getting itchy,
my aunt’s voice was poking at my throat,

I wouldn’t cry because she knew more,
or because what she knew,
collapsed my truths.

There in all of the dusty pictures, lay a black journal,
the handwriting ugly, like mine,
a similarity I could be proud of.

I found her journals hours after I had written a poem,
I found out she loved someone other than my father,
I found out she was a poet.

IMAGE: “Girl reading at window” (stock image).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this piece about finding my mother’s journals full of poetry while looking through boxes of her photo albums. She died when I was one and ever since I remember, I have been writing poetry. So it was a pleasant surprise to find out that she also wrote poetry by stumbling upon those journals. It became a moment of clarity in my search for my own purpose, it was also beautiful to find out the way I did, and not by someone telling me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Annasofia Padua is Senior at Miami Arts Charter majoring in Creative Writing. She has published poetry in several magazines and she focuses her art mostly around self-exploration. Annasofia Padua has written works in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Anna loves being outdoors and finds that the natural world inspires her the most.

hat ad 2
Left Behind
by Barbara Eknoian

There wasn’t enough room
in the U-Haul.
We abandoned our first
cream-colored kitchen table,
which still resides back east
at my cousin’s house,
and boxes of Bradley’s
Dress Store clothing,
made of materials I don’t see,
or can’t afford anymore:
matte jerseys, organza
and fine-sheared woolens.
My wedding gown
of French satin,
with wine spots on the hem,
a pearl gray coat
with a silver fox collar,
and my father’s brown fedora.

But those were just things.
I left behind precious people,
my mom, recently widowed,
my l4-year-old kid brother,
my maiden aunts, used to me
dropping by to visit.
My friends next door,
a daily fun part of our lives,
and I left a lot of me.
When my brother mails me
a package,
I’m thrilled to find an 8 x 10
framed sepia photo of my dad
wearing his brown fedora.
And then I notice his smile;
it was so much like mine.

IMAGE: Detail from vintage hat ad.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Eknoian’s work has appeared in Pearl, Chiron Review, Cadence Collective Anthology, and Silver Birch Press’s Silver, Green, Summer, NOIR Erasure Poetry, and  Self-Portrait anthologies. She resides in La Mirada, California, with her family. Her poetry book, Why I Miss New Jersey, and a novel, a family saga,  Monday’s Child are available at Amazon.

A Treasure Chest
by Terri Miller

A treasure chest
of whispers from the past

In a home with
devastating memories!

When my mother and brother
went to their
final resting place.

The family home
was padlocked by
the bank.

It took several years
to obtain entrance
into the home, just

to find rubble three
feet high in
every room.

I frantically looked
room by room, on
my hands and knees,

to find pictures of
memories past.

As I cleaned the
rooms, I reached my

Recovered the pictures
foreclosure at last.

PHOTO: “Box of photos” by, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In July 2016 I returned home to Rhode Island from Florida. Finally, able to settle the estates of my mother and brother. They died in 2012. This process took me four years to enter the family home. In the end all I wanted to retrieve was the pictures.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Terri Miller was born and raised in Rhode Island, but now resides in the country part  of Florida. A country girl at heart, she has been writing since grade school. In 2013, after the death of her brother, her poetry became darkened. Around 2015, the darkness lifted. She is a lover of life’s simpler things. Her inspiration for poetry is rooted in faith and family, in love, nature and words.  She believes life is poetry waiting to be written!  What she looks at seems to make her write. She can’t wait to get her thoughts written down, but it’s not always at the right time, because there are so many other things that she should be doing. Like anything else, she is a work in progress and is presently under Major Construction. She has recently been published in the Awakened Voices literary magazine, Silver Birch Press, and Wild Women’s Medicine Circle. Follow along for inspiration or for simple enjoyment at Mia’s Wisdom and My Poetry Express.

Halfway Home
by Nicholas Batdorf

I saw you walking by,
A figment of my mind,
The echo of my dream.

Blink once, blink twice
And you were never here
The way the wind makes smoke disappear.
Poof! In passing
You’ve left me asking
Who? What? How?
If only I could have a name.
Maybe I’d remember.
Remember you forever.
But as fast as you came
You’re already gone.
Like a phantom in the daylight
Running from the sun.

IMAGE: “Woman of Mystery” by Fernand Khnopff (1909)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem at my first day in a drug and alcohol halfway home treatment facility. I had spent the last five months incarcerated or in an in-patient drug and alcohol facility, and this was my first step towards freedom. My intake to the halfway home coincided with a Puerto Rican Pride block party the halfway home shared the street with. The atmosphere was not deemed recovery-friendly, and no one was allowed off of the premises. I was so close to a taste of freedom, but caged within an alleyway on the premises, watching merry partygoers pass. And then I saw her. A tall, graceful woman with dark hair and sun-kissed skin. And in those few moments of her passing by the gateway separating us, time stood still and an eternity of questions and scenarios ran through my mind. What I would have given to even have just a name to attribute to such beauty, a shred of identity to credit that musical, confident walk to. Just as quickly as she came, she was gone. And with her, the music and the light of day seemed to fade.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nicholas Batdorf is an avid musician as well as a writer of poetry. His love of music carries forth throughout his writing in his lyrical, rhythmic style. A lover of the visual arts, Nicholas uses vivid imagery to lend his readers’ imaginations ample space to wander within his poems. Follow Nicholas on Instagram @nicky_knack, or Tumblr

Hat Heaven
by Karen Eastlund

The hat shop caught my attention
But I couldn’t stop at the time
We were in mid-tour
In a foreign country
We didn’t speak the language
Nor would we know where to meet at end of day
We had to stay the course
But I was determined to find that shop again
Later, when I voiced my plan
My husband clasped my arm
With both hands, protesting
“No, you’ll get lost…
You don’t know where you’re going…
I don’t want to lose you….”
Sweet, I thought,
But heedless of my quest for
The perfect hat shop

To be fair, I had been disoriented
A few times on our trip
Had turned right instead of left
So I listened to him
But also convinced him
Until finally
I led us straight to the desired shop

And there they were
Beautiful hats
Shapely and neat
Wool for warmth
In many colors
Accessible for trying on
Plenty of mirrors
Ready assistants
Bringing more and more hats
Gently suggesting an appropriate fit
The hat shop of my dreams!

I walked out in a new woolen cloche,
Navy blue with a bow at one ear,
And a confident smile
That only a well-chosen hat can bring

The next day
When several appeared in new hats
We smiled demurely at one another
Sharing an unspoken sentiment
Great hat!

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me in my hat, taken in January 2017.

NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR: This took place in Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO town in Czech Republic that we visited while cruising the Danube. The shop mentioned is without a doubt the best hat shop I have ever found.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Eastlund lives in New Jersey. She is retired after teaching preschool and providing children’s programs at her local library. Karen enjoys her grandchildren, travel, music, reading, gardening, and the practice of writing. She posts regularly on various children’s poetry blogs.

Patrick T. Reardon (left) and his brother David in 2002
Finding pain
by Patrick T. Reardon

You ask me if,
in writing about my
suicide-brother, I
find peace.

You ask me if
I find a clearing in
the forest where,
amid bird-song, the
sunlight shafts across
my face.

I have found a
jungle on a steep
hill rising to a
mountain and a
mountain top, a
rainstorm and then
blizzard, a whirlwind,
and, at the peak, stingy
air and greedy cold and a
panorama of the Earth spread
for me as
if I were an asthmatic,
hypothermic god, as
if I were again the baby fighting
my way blindly from the dark, as
if I were the
giver of birth, as
if I were the cribbed
infant with no words and a
dream, as
if I were, like all of us, Job
raging out at the Almighty in
the knowledge of death and
the schooling of pain, and
out to grab
the sorrow-
of breathing,
for as
long as

PHOTO: Patrick T. Reardon (left) with his brother David. From the book Requiem for David (Silver Birch press, 2017).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Well, since the February publication of my book of poems centered on the suicide of my brother David, many people wonder if I’ve found peace through the process of writing and publishing the work.  The answer is very complicated, and that’s what I tried to address in this poem.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon is the author of Requiem for David, a collection of poems (Silver Birch Press, 2017).  His Pump Don’t Work blog is at

Chicago-area residents, join Patrick T. Reardon and author Barbara Mahany as they discuss Patrick’s new poetry collection Requiem for David and the questions it raises about grief, family, religious faith, and the choices that each of us makes at every step along the path of our lives. The event will take place on Friday, 3/24/17, 6:30 p.m., at City Lit Books, 2523 N. Kedzie Blvd., Chicago, IL 60647.

 In Requiem for David, Patrick wrestles with the suicide of his brother David, and the pain they shared as children and adults, and the tight bond of affection that the brothers shared with each other and with their other 12 brothers and sisters. Sandra Cisneros calls Requiem for David “the heart’s howl,” and Haki Madhubuti compares the collection to the work of poet-priest Daniel Berrigan.

“Detail by razor-sharp detail, perception by vivid perception, recollection by haunting recollection, Patrick T. Reardon’s  Requiem for David gathers into the force of a cri de coeur.”
–Stuart Dybek

Patrick T. Reardon’s eight books include Faith Stripped to Its Essence, a literary-religious commentary on Shusaku Endo’s famed novel Silence. Reardon worked for 32 years as a reporter with the Chicago Tribune, specializing in urban affairs, and is now writing a book about the impact of the elevated railroad Loop on Chicago.  His essays and poems have appeared frequently in American and European publications. His book reviews have twice won the Peter Lisagor Award for arts criticism.  He has lectured on Chicago history at the Chicago History Museum.

 Barbara Mahany is an author and freelance journalist in Chicago, who writes these days about stumbling on the sacred amid the cacophony of the modern-day domestic melee. She was a reporter and feature writer at the Chicago Tribune for nearly 30 years. Mahany’s first book, Slowing Time: Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door, has been called “a field guide into the depths of your holiest hours.” Publishers Weekly picked it as one of the Top 10 religion books for 2014, fall crop. In her forthcoming book, Motherprayer: Lessons in Loving, due out in April, Mahany turns her attention to the sacred mysteries of mothering.

WHAT: Launch for Requiem for David by Patrick T. Reardon

WHEN: Friday, March 24, 2017 – 6:30pm

WHERE: City Lit Books

2523 N. Kedzie Blvd., Chicago, IL 60647

Where are the teeth I slipped under my pillow?
by Jackie Craven

For every loss, a coin
embossed with the pained profile
of George Washington, lips stretched tight
over his own dental misfortunes.
Hardly a fair exchange.

It would take a fleet of fairies
to flit from child to child
carting sacks of silver
and a million molars
rattling like tiny skulls. Or
a mother with a talent
for keeping secrets.

I expected to find 20 jagged bits
of me in her keepsake drawer,
along with shards of china, a lock
of hair, a lover’s letter. She hid
them well, or lost them,
the way she lost eyesight, appetite,
and the names of flowers.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, at eight  hiding what’s missing behind an uncertain smile.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I believed in the tooth fairy longer than most children, and was usually quite happy to yank out pieces of myself in exchange for a visit. The mystery! The excitement! Today I get a similar thrill from writing poetry, but the monetary rewards are usually less.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie Craven has poems published in New Ohio Review, Nimrod, River Styx, Salamander, Water~Stone Review, and other journals. Her 2016 chapbook, Our Lives Became Unmanageable, won the Fabulist Fiction award from Omnidawn. She works as journalist covering architecture, literature, and the arts. Visit her at or on Facebook at JackieCravenWrites.

sliding board 001
Wax Paper Slide
by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

Narrow streets of this town past
intersect a simple grid grown slow
to encroach on steadfast fields
of family names
but for a park named for one name
and the big bargain-buy building
and an upshot of sprawling vinyl siding
tucked in southern reaches to supervise
corporate fed manicured lawns.

On one narrow street found
red brick double-deckers form
a hobbled oval of life and limb
encased in egg-shell white interior
―grass painted 1950s kelly.
Once flat, kindergarten triangle roofs
search satellite skies.

And my heart fell at the missing
playground; even the basketball court
made way for a patriotic
plastic play palace.
A lone square of dirt marked
the drop spot
of the silver slide slicked
with Mom’s wax paper.

I reached
to touch the clothesline
cross pole where
David Ray climbed
that one summer,
sitting far above me
like some archangel singing
“Dock of the Bay.”

SOURCE: First published in The Holiday Café (July 2, 2014).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The sliding board at the housing project where I grew up sat about 15 feet from our kitchen door. This photo, circa 1959, shows me with my three older sisters. If you look closely the old wooden seat swing set is visible in the background. The single story units also in the background had slightly pitched roofs but the two story units (where we lived) had flat tops where assorted balls and Frisbees were held captive until once a year a maintenance man climbed up to toss them down to us children.


Wanda Morrow Clevenger
is a Carlinville, Illinois, native. Over 428 pieces of her work appear in 149 print and electronic publications. Her nonfiction “Big Love” was nominated for 2016 Best of Net by Red Fez literary journal. Her poem “When I Loved You” was commended by the judges in the 2015 Lost Tower Publications “The Double Happiness Love Completion.” Her debut book This Same Small Town in Each of Us (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House) was released in October 2011. Visit her magazine-type blog, updated at her erratic discretion, here.

Lawrence 1983 photo
Dear Lost Love of My Life
by Kathleen A. Lawrence


You had dark longish hair
and so did I. Your eyes were the color
of milk chocolate truffles.
Your skin like hot caramel sauce.
When you wrapped your arm around
my white shoulders we looked like
a hot fudge & caramel vanilla bean sundae.

You used to count my freckles as we lay around
naked listening to “Only the Good Die Young”
on my portable cassette player.
I giggled shyly and fibbed when I said
no one had ever done that before.
It only mattered that you were connecting
each dot and studying my body.

You were full of sweet kisses and
compliments which I thought
would never end. I always believed you’d
forever be tracing my skin with your fingertips
like I was some beautiful, rare relief map.
But summer burned some insecurities
into my head, and I worried.


You had to go West for a few months,
and I tried to convince myself
you were my brave explorer and
I was your modern-day pioneer woman.
I was going to be mature and wait
and keep myself busy getting a tan
and eating Garcia’s pizza and drinking draft beer.

But I couldn’t be more than I was,
which was very twenty-four
and nervous that you at thirty-one
would grow tired of me. How long could I
really be captivating to you? You, however,
would always be so fascinating you’d be
frozen in time as my proverbial one that got away.

I dumped you. But it was me that lost.
I spent the next thirty years living and loving
in my life but it was never the same
as it was during our hot summer of showers,
and wind chimes, and long-distance phone calls
when they still really meant something.
And you had to pay for them.


Thirty years passed without warning.
We both finished school, married our rebounds,
had our respective happy children,
and forever wondered. But when I lost
my marriage I tried to never think about you.
Ignorance wasn’t bliss; it made me
want to take cover . . . it was safe.

I tried to keep my “what ifs” locked away
in my memory box of ID bracelets,
Pink Floyd T-shirts, bandannas, and two-piece
bathing suits. My ’80s and you were over.
The ERA didn’t make it despite my efforts
and neither did we. Now, in my early 50s I’d lost
the time or need to lounge naked pondering life.

But when you started chasing me on Facebook,
that started to change. I got nervous again,
like the first time you stopped by my dorm room
and asked if I wanted to play frisbee. (Did I really
look like I wanted to play frisbee?) What a curious
boy-man you were. Always so upbeat, full of affection,
and eager to ply me with frozen margaritas and a dance.

When you friended me on Facebook I blushed.
When you posted me a meme I smiled.
I looked for you every time I logged on,
and swooned with every new message alert.
I was young again but with a freckled face now
filled with experience. I didn’t have my chicken legs
any more, as you used to call them, and my eyes were less blue.

But my heart was bigger now along with my hips.
And you seemed immediately enamored of both.
It was like 360 months hadn’t separated us. It was as if
109,507 days without your touch, brown eyes, and wide smile
made me grow up too, something I was always reluctant to do.
That seems to have made all the difference. I’m more
loving and kind. I finally have the patience to wait for what I need.


I lost you once. Many summer moons ago.
I found you twice, twice in August, 3 decades apart.
I’m no mathematician, and you teach English,
but I think those numbers look good.
So I’m gonna hold on tight this time, and let you
kiss me without warning. You can bring me cheese platters
and green seedless grapes with the stems trimmed.

You can write me beautiful notes for the next 30 years
and more. You can laugh at my jokes even though
I know you didn’t hear me. You can brush my still long hair
and wear your dragon shirts. Because we are we.
Wonderfully seasoned, particular, and experienced loving we.
Gratefully, I’ll never be so young and careless with you again.
I’ll never, ever risk losing you again.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Happy and hanging out at university in the early 80s in an embroidered peasant blouse.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My approach for this poem was to write something that really captured the importance of what I lost and remained missing over half of my adult life. My graduate school fling was a love I never forgot but lost for a long time. I hoped to convey the fun we had as young loves and the magic that seemed to reappear once we found each other again. It sounds so cliché and trite but since we typically aren’t the kind of people that fall into these patterns it actually has been refreshingly ironic that we did.

Lawrence bio photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathleen A. Lawrence’s poems appeared recently in Rattle’s Poets Respond, Eye to the Telescope, Silver Birch Press, haikuniverse, and New Verse News. A poem in Altered Reality Magazine was nominated for a 2017 Rhysling Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association. She was a Poet of the Week at Poetry Super Highway in January 2017.