Archives for posts with tag: poetry

silviu-zidaru1-s7_tZSD2CxM-unsplash copyThank you to the 180 poets from 32 U.S. states and 15 countries who participated in our ONE GOOD MEMORY Series, which ran. from August 29, 2022 to February 24, 2023. Many thanks to the following authors for six months of wonderful, uplifting memories.

Cynthia Anderson
Carol Alena Aronoff
Pragya Bajpai
Sharon Ball
Janet Banks
Alex Barr
Jenny Bates
Ruth Bavetta
Greg Bell
Donna Best
Shelly Blankman
Carol Bliss
Rose Mary Boehm
Erina Booker
Anne Born
Cheryl Caesar
Ranney Campbell
Lorraine Caputo
Jonathan Chan
Jan Chronister
Tricia Marcella Cimera
Sara Clancy
Robert Coats
Beverly M. Collins
Clive Collins
Beth Copeland
Joanne Corey
Joe Cottonwood
Linda M. Crate
Jackie Craven
Shutta Crum
Michele Cuomo
Laura Daniels
Abha Das Sarma
Olafisoye-Oragbade Oluwatosin David
Rafaella Del Bourgo
Steven Deutsch
Margaret Dornaus
Merrill Oliver Douglas
Margaret Duda
Ralph Earle
Jen Emery
Terri Kirby Erickson
Scott Ferry
Mary Fitzpatrick
Yvette Viets Flaten
Pauline Flynn
Laura Foley
Roseanne Freed
Linda McCauley Freeman
Martina Robles Gallegos
Sue Mayfield Geiger
Christine Gelineau
Arlene Geller
Karen George
Ken Gierke
Tony Gloeggler
Catherine Gonick
Vince Gotera
Uma Gowrishankar
CR Green
Evie Groch
Gary Grossman
Jim Gustafson
Tina Hacker
Penny Harter
Gloria Heffernan
Kenneth Hickey
Donna Hilbert
Chantal House
Anita Howard
Stephen Howarth
Marilyn Humbert
Maryann Hurtt
Joyce Jacobo
Deirdre Garr Johns
Carole Johnston
Feroza Jussawalla
Debra Kaufman
Karen Keefe
James Ross Kelly
Lynne Kemen
Catherine Klatzer
Phyllis Klein
Kim Klugh
Tricia Knoll
Sharon Waller Knutson
Chuck Kramer
Laurie Kuntz
Tom Lagasse
Jennifer Lagier
Paula J. Lambert
Joan Leotta
RIchard L. Levesque
Laurinda Lind
Dale A. Lombardi
Nancy Lubarsky
Rick Lupert
Anne Namatsi Lutomia
Jone Rush MacCulloch
Marjorie Maddox
Tamara Madison
Fran Markover
Betsy Mars
Mary McCarthy
Catfish McDaris
Joan McNerney
Penelope Moffet
Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca
Leah Mueller
Lowell Murphree
Linda Jummai Mustafa
Elaine Nadal
Briana Naseer
Lillian Nećakov
Amy Nemecek
Robbi Nester
Maria Nestorides
Leslie Neustadt
Cristina M.R. Norcross
Lynn Norton
Suzanne O’Connell
James Penha
Darrell Petska
Deborah Pope
Andrea Potos
Anita S. Pulier
Cynthia Todd Quam
Robina Rader
Geetha Ravichandran
Patrick T. Reardon
Jeannie E. Roberts
Mary Rohrer-Dann
Emalisa Rose
Ellen Rowland
Sarah Russell
Ed Ruzicka
John Charles Ryan
Amit Shankar Saha
Salli Berg Seeley
Sarah Dickenson Snyder
Sheila Sondik
Gail Sosinsky
Kate Soupiset
Richard Spilman
Julie Standig
Carol A. Stephen
Wendy Stewart
Olive L. Sullivan
Katrin Talbot
Mary Ellen Talley
Alarie Tennille
Craig Thompson
Mary Langer Thompson
Gail Tirone
Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Bunkong Tuon
Richard Vargas
Cruz Villarreal
Andrea Jones Walker
Ann E. Wallace
Alan Walowitz
Robert Walton
Julene Tripp Weaver
Ruth Weinstein
Laura Grace Weldon
Dick Westheimer
Leslie Wharton
Kelley White
Kim Whysall-Hammond
Martin Willitts Jr
Melody Wilson
Marilyn Zelke Windau
Matt Witt
Peter A. Witt
Liza Wolff-Francis
Jonathan Yungkans
Thomas Zampino
Joanie HF Zosike

Revisit the 180 poems in the ONE GOOD MEMORY SERIES at this link. Enjoy!

by Chantal House

One good memory I cling
to from the time they said
induce her
is how you looked me in the eye
spoke to me
with white-knuckles,
joined in a conviction
that I could do this
whatever it took
even if it took away
my agency
my womanhood
all my experiences and knowledge
amassed before this moment
on a hospital bed
reduced to a statistic:
another woman of color
bringing life to America
ignored, restrained forced to
repeat repeat
repeat a basic wish
to be seen and heard,
like an oil-slicked bird
pinned between plastic ashore
an unrelenting ocean
wave upon wave
of artificial contractions
mimicking the real thing,
undulations too synthetic
preventing me from flying free
to greet our baby—
so you lift me
with your eyes and fierce grip
won’t let me and our baby go
bringing life to America.

Photo by Jas. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was inspired by my daughter’s birthday and the recent release of So We Can Know. For a wealthy country, America remains one of the most dangerous places to give birth and be born if you’re a person of color.  I wrote this poem for all the women and children who have walked this isolating road before me, for all those to come and for all those who were denied their beyond.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chantal House is a brand consultant who specializes in social impact work, helping organizations, nonprofits, and philanthropies lead with empathy, inclusive of the communities they serve. She also teaches resilience classes within the New York City public school system, where first graders explore coping strategies built on foundations of mindfulness, gratitude, and joy. Chantal began writing poetry this year as a way to elevate issues of social and racial justice, womanhood, and caregiving’s role in society.  She would love to hear from you @bear_hunt_poetry.

PHOTO: The author and her daughter.

by Sarah Russell

My mother was a hard woman,
not given to hugs or laughter.
But once when I was quite sick —
I must have been 4 or 5 — she sat
beside my bed, and I felt her cool,
soft fingers on my forehead, easing
my headache, brushing back my hair,
until I finally slept. That was when I knew
she loved me, though she didn’t say it,
then, or ever.

PAINTING: Young mother contemplating her sleeping child in candlelight by Albrecht Anker (1875).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I only remember scraps of my childhood, mostly from family stories. But I remember these few moments vividly.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Russell’s poetry and fiction have been published in Rattle, Kentucky Review, Misfit Magazine, Rusty Truck, Third Wednesday, and many other journals and anthologies. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has two poetry collections published by Kelsay Books, I lost summer somewhere and Today and Other Seasons. She blogs at

One Time My Father Said He Loved Me
by Vince Gotera

One late night in 1962, when I was
around 9 or 10, Papa slipped into my room.
I pretended to be asleep. It was a little bit

strange—Mama was usually the one
who checked on me at night. My father,

a 1960s American male to a T, a WWII vet,
a Bataan POW, was a stoic man, taciturn.
Papa leaned over me. I smelled beer,

though he rarely drank. He whispered,
I love you, Vin. Wanting it to never stop,

I kept my eyes shut. My cheek warmed
to his breath, a lovely warmth I still can feel,
sixty years later, a thousand miles away.

PAINTING: Portrait of a Little Boy by Paul Gauguin (1888).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This “one good memory” is something I have treasured most of my life. I never talked about it with my dad. He would have said something like, “no need to talk about it … we understand each other.” Actually, he said that very thing to me once when I wanted to discuss our relationship. I was living in Indiana and visiting him in California that time and he passed away a few weeks afterwards. I wish I’d had the opportunity to tell him how much that memory meant—still means—to me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vince Gotera teaches at the University of Northern Iowa, where he was Editor of the North American Review (2000-2016). He is also former Editor of Star*Line, the print journal of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (2017-2020). His poetry collections include Dragonfly, Ghost Wars, Fighting Kite, The Coolest Month. and the upcoming Pacific Crossing. Recent poems have appeared in Eye to the Telescope, The Ekphrastic Review, failed haiku, The MacGuffin, Philippines Graphic (Philippines), Rosebud, The Wild Word (Germany), Yellow Medicine Review, and the anthologies Multiverse (UK), Dear America, and Hay(na)ku 15. He blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar.

vladimir floyd
by Richard Spilman

We toast marshmallows over the gas grill
and watch the fireworks over the river.
under the porch light we put up the tent
three times, the chaos of democracy
deciding not here or here but in the middle
of the yard, away from the dark trees
full of sleeping birds, the neighbor’s dogs
patrolling the fence. And then at two
in the morning in you tumble, soaked
from the sprinklers we forgot to shut off,
overjoyed at the catastrophe.

In the basement you gather furniture,
tie ropes from piece to piece and over
them drape blankets, you commandeer
flashlights, radios. There is much to say
and all must be whispered, then transmitted
in code from cell to cell. Even there
below ground and away from our prying,
you need to hide—from dark windows,
from the creaking of wood and wind
and the lisp of leaves against the house:
To tuck yourselves into a cave of laughter,
amongst homely things turned miraculous
and warm bodies tumbled in a riot of sleep.

Photo by Vladmiir Floyd.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem is self-explanatory: we host a sleepover in the back yard for our daughter and her friends on the Fourth of July, and when disaster strikes, they turn it into great fun. The form is pretty simple, too: In the first stanza, the adventure as it was supposed to be, in the second, the transformation into something warmer, funnier, and more intimate. Imagination triumphs over adversity, and I omit all discussion of who cleans up afterward.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Spilman is the author of In the Night Speaking and of a chapbook, Suspension. He has also published two books of short Fiction, Hot Fudge and The Estate Sale. Hot Fudge was a New York Times Notable Book. His poetry has appeared in many journals, including Poetry, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Image. He was born and raised in Normal, Illinois, and although he has lived all over the United States, he has never been able to escape Normal.

Chichen Itza, 2000
by Jan Chronister

We stay just outside the site
in a cottage used by
research teams long ago,
hammock hooks still on walls.
Dinner is served outside
on the hacienda porch.

In the morning
we enter through
a private gate.
For half a day
we are alone
with antiquity.

At El Caracol,
I sit on a bench
while my daughter
and fiancé explore.
I watch clouds pass
the observatory dome,
sense the timelessness
Maya astronomers must have felt
as they charted planets and stars.

About halfway in
crowds from tour busses meet us.
We wait our turn to climb
El Castillo, gaze in awe
at the 360° view
from the top.

It was a pre-nuptial trip,
a compatibility test.
Two decades pass,
we still smile.

PHOTO: El Castillo (pyramid of Kukulcán) in Chichén Itzá (Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán State, Mexico) by Daniel Schwen (2009).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The trip to Chichen Itza will always be a highlight of my life. I feel so fortunate to have visited when the pyramid could still be climbed, inside and out. As a student of Mayan culture, it was on my “bucket list.” As a poet, it was an experience I will never forget. In 2019 I published a micro-chapbook with Origami Poems titled Before They Closed the Temple at Kukulkan. I wrote “Chichen Itza” specifically for this Silver Birch Press prompt.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Jan Chronister is a retired English teacher who now spends her time on her flower gardens and poetry. She also helps fellow poets edit and publish their work. Jan has authored two full-length poetry collections and six chapbooks. Find more about Jan at

vasyl helevychuk copy
Baptized at the Creek
by Shutta Crum

All us kids stood—wide-eyed. Cousin Billy
stuck his thumb in his mouth, as they laid Aunt Gertie backward
under the brown waters of the creek.

Right then and there, sacredness came floating ‘round us.
The holler got so warm and holy I could hardly breathe.
I reached out and squeezed Sissy’s hand.

Aunts and uncles, standing witness, shouted Hallelujah!
and raised their arms to heaven. Billy peed on a tree.
We giggled. Uncle Winn snagged him with his arm.
Grandpa prayed.
Praise the Lord!

When they helped Aunt Gertie up the bank of the creek
her clothes clung sopping over her rounder parts,
the way honey clings to a biscuit. I tried not to look.

We ate corn bread, fried chicken, green beans and ham hocks,
homemade rolls, canned peaches, and Grandma’s pies.
Billy wiggled, corralled between Uncle Winn and Grandpa.

Cousin Louann played the guitar. Her boyfriend, the harmonica.
Sissy swung Billy round & round. Aunt Dixie and Uncle Walter Lee sang—
their mournful voices rising and then swooping deep, flowing into us.
Praise the Lord!

Later, in the cool dew-fall hour we went back to the creek.
We chased fireflies and threw stones into the water. Too dark to see
the ripples widen. But we knew they lapped ashore
—washing away our sins.

Previously published in Typehouse Literary Magazine, Issue 23.

Photo by Vasyl Helevachuk.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My southern extended family included several ministers and deacons of the church. We had our own cemetery up on the mountainside. I’ve witnessed many baptisms in the creek that flows past the home of my grandparents. What remains, after all these years, is the sense of family closeness. This poem, about one of them, illustrates that we weren’t all angels, as Billy in the poem suggests. But we were all loved.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shutta Crum’s poetry has been published since the 1970s. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Acumen, Mom Egg Review, Calyx, and Boulevard. Her chapbook When You Get Here won a gold Royal Palm Literary Award. Her second collection The Way to the River came out in 2022. A Pushcart nominee, she is also the author of 13 picture books and three novels for younger readers including, Thunder-Boomer! (Clarion/HMH) a Smithsonian Magazine and an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year. For more information, or to subscribe to her monthly newsletter the Wordsmith’s Playground, visit

A Memory
by Rose Mary Boehm

The way my father stood
by the evening sun-lit window, a golden halo
playing around his hair
and how he would look
so quietly out of the window, blinking
into those slanted rays of burnt orange.

His thumb in his waistcoat pocket,
his watch chain performing
the perfect shape, just as watch chains
hanging from waistcoat pockets
should. Rather than seeing it then,
I knew that on the left side
of my father’s nose
there was a fleshy mound—not too big.
I would always recognize
my father’s nose.

I couldn’t see that either,
but I knew my father’s hat
hung on the stand-up wardrobe
in the hall, the one with the big mirror
and the large hooks made from a copper alloy,
doubled as not to damage the clothes. I was tracing
the raised flower pattern on the wallpaper.

The evening sun slants across my desk
and makes it difficult to see
the computer screen. My eyes
are wet. The insistent phone calls me.

PAINTING: Man at the Window by Gustave Caillebotte (1875).

Hellmuth Böhm my father (2)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I grew up during WWII. Officially I don’t remember much, I was too small. But sometimes impressions float into my memory banks, more often than not just snippets of a childhood, although a childhood under circumstances that can’t be called “normal.” Still, I find – among the trauma – good bits as it were that let me know that I was loved, the greatest gift parents can give a child.

PHOTO: The author’s father, Hellmuth Böhm.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru, and author of two novels as well as six poetry collections. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly U.S. poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Do Oceans Have Underwater Borders?  (Kelsay Books, July 2022) and Whistling in the Dark  (Taj Mahal Publishing House, July 2022), are both available on Amazon.

Catching Tears
by Dale Lombardi

As a young child,
when I would cry
big blubbering tears

and no amount of hugs
or kisses or cajoling
could make me stop,

my mother would get
a small glass and press it
gently against my cheek

just below one eye.
For each tear I catch,
you’ll get a penny. And a wish.

Try as I would,
I never did earn a cent.
I never could keep on crying

and my mother never did
catch any tears,
fresh or fading.

My tears stopped
The glass stayed empty,

then was wiped clean
of finger and cheek prints
and returned to the cupboard

while I sat calm
and empty-eyed,
my own glass now full.

PAINTING: White Rose in a Glass by Piet Mondrian (1921).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My poems usually come from words, phrases or questions that flare forth from my reading or from some source unknown. They percolate quietly on the back burners of my brain until eventually, one by one, each gives rise to a poem.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dale Lombardi is a poet and conceptual artist who takes her inspiration from old trees, stone walls, and daydreams in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut.  She had a poet’s heart from the beginning, but the poet within lay dormant as she earned degrees from Duke University (BA) and Florida State University (MS), then juggled motherhood and careers as a speech pathologist, communication consultant, and corporate trainer.  Once she left the stress of careers and the vigilance of motherhood behind, she had space enough — and time — for the poet-artist within to emerge. Ever believing in the transformative power of beauty, she now spends her days walking, wondering, and creating. Her collection Cloud and Bone was published in January 2023 by Finishing Line Press.

Picking Cherries
by Mary Rohrer-Dann

My father lifts me to pick sour
cherries from my grandmother’s tree.
His whiskers scrape against my skin.
Sugar cubes stuffed in our cheeks,
we eat straight from the dinged pail,
spit out yellow pits, bits of twig and leaf.

In this dream he is my young father,
dark-haired, muscled, laughter easy
on his lips. Afternoon slips into blue
twilight with nothing more to do
than pick and eat cherries,
watch shadows purpling green grass.

First published by Vita Brevis Press in July 2020, and included in the author’s collection, Taking the Long Way Home (Kelsay Books, 2021).

Photo by Hans. 


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My father is long gone, but he has visited me in dreams on occasion, for which I am grateful.

PHOTO: The author and her father on the beach in Atlantic City, circa 1954.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Rohrer-Dann, author of Taking the Long Way Home and La Scaffetta: Poems from the Foundling Drawer, also has work in Flash Boulevard, Clackamas Review, Ekphrastic Review, Indiana Review, Potato Soup Journal, Philadelphia Stories, Panoply, and elsewhere. A “graduated” educator, she paints, hikes, and works with several volunteer organizations in central Pennsylvania. She is past writing a sexy bio.