Archives for posts with tag: postaday

Twice Removed
by Betsy Mars

A move I don’t remember except in the retelling,
reinforced through repetition and objects remaining —
sound filters through the window, memory
of samba and sands shifting, kite wings flapping,
traffic honking, voices drifting

up to our patio where we look down
like small, wanton gods, planning
on the unsuspecting city below:
an alien city that is awake and alive,
ripe with smells, sweet and foul.
We are the true aliens, green and foreign.

Birdcage squawks, hinges creak. Polly wants a cracker.
Cats prowl for rats illuminated under orange street
lights and lightly brushing water on cartoon images,
paint pustules burst with color hidden in paper pores

like the white chocolate which betrays its color
like the record player with its automatic arm,
levitating records which keep the music flowing.
Like red vinyl tempting like licorice, grooved and shiny —
like the plastic window stickers shedding stained glass light

like the sugar cubes doused with medicine —
the mountain called Sugar Loaf,
delicious for a five-year-old’s sweet imagination.
Swinging from a high line suspended in a car,
the cable pulling us towards redemption.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is me on our apartment balcony in Rio, which itself was exotic and mysterious to me, peering at the creaky birdcage.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was four, my father — an academic — was assigned to a program in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My exposure to a foreign culture and being an outsider at an early age gave me an understanding of and appreciation for languages and diversity. I grew up knowing that the life I lived was only one of many ways to experience the world. Music could be different, vowels could be pronounced in more than one way, seasons could be turned upside down, and true poverty was visible and heart-rending. Nevertheless, after several moves and being pulled away from friends and familiarity time and again, I’ve found I am rooted. I like to have my home base and explore outward from that sense of centeredness. Maybe all of that early moving helps to explain why I have hung on so tightly to so many nearly lifelong friendships. I’ve learned to let go a little more and that those relationships that matter will survive, despite distance and time apart.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betsy Mars is a writer, former school employee, former resident of Connecticut, Wisconsin, Los Angeles, and Rio de Janeiro. She currently lives in Southern California and devotes herself to her animals, adult children, endless unnecessary chores, searching for work, trip planning, and writing.

How to Get There
by Ruth Bavetta

I’m no good
at giving directions, always forget
the names of streets,
just point myself the right
way, past the big green house
turn left at the tall brick wall,
right at the street heading out.
Six months after I met him, I left
my house, my street, my town, steering
books, socks, dogs, cats, kids
from their known coordinates right
across the valley to this house, where
we’ve lived for thirty years, twenty
since the children grew and left. Even
now I can’t tell you the right way
to get where you’re going.
Once you’ve left,
go right on down the street
and when you get to the place
where you need to turn,

SOURCE: Previously published in the author’s collection Embers on the Stairs (Moontide Press).

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo is the road leading away from my former house.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I moved from San Bernardino to Redlands, California, to marry my second husband.  Less than 15 miles, but the most important move of my life.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ruth Bavetta is an artist and poet whose poems have been published in Rhino, Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, North American Review, Spillway, and Poetry New Zealand, and many others. Her work is included in four anthologies. She has published three books, Flour Water Salt (FutureCycle Press) Embers on the Stairs(Moontide Press) and Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press.). She loves the light on November afternoons, the smell of the ocean, a warm back to curl against in bed. She hates pretense, fundamentalism, and sauerkraut.

tree of life photo
Tree of Life
by Gail Fishman Gerwin

On the spring day when
Charlie Giordanella’s
building crew sealed the
roof planks on our new house,
they nailed a tiny fir where
the chimney would sit.

From The Old Country,
they spoke in unfamiliar tongues
yet their cheers honoring a shared
feat transcended our language gap.

Tradition mandated the tree,
along with an outdoor festa,
blue sky as backdrop, upturned
stones on the excavated lot
rocking our feet.

Wearing caps, sweatshirts,
tool aprons, the workers
delighted for the camera,
held cardboard cups,
hoisted a bottle of rye.

The photo shows me in
my green cotton coat,
brown corduroy collar,
sandwich in hand,
peering sideways
with a semi-smile.

Headed toward a place where
no moving vans would roar
into our driveway in the dark of
night, where no bullies would
hamper my walk to school,
I felt relief.

SOURCE: “Tree of Life” originally appeared in the author’s collection Sugar and Sand.

gail and ben wedding

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR/PHOTO CAPTION: My parents Cele and Benjamin Fishman, both of whom came to America as young children, met, married, and worked together to build a moving and storage business that my grandfather founded, took great joy from our new home in Paterson, New Jersey. My memory of this day is as vivid as when it occurred. As a bride more than four decades ago, I held my father’s hand as he led me down the porch stairs of this home to my own new life and the moves it has entailed.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gail Fishman Gerwin is the author of three poetry collections: Sugar and Sand (Paterson Poetry Prize finalist), Dear Kinfolk (Paterson Award for Literary Excellence), and Crowns (Aldrich Press, 2016). Her poem “A State in Mind” was a third-prize winner in the 2015 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards. She is associate poetry editor of Tiferet Journal and is a writing-workshop facilitator. Gail’s poetry, book reviews, fiction, essays, and plays appear in print and online literary journals, in other media, and on stage.Visit her at

Summer sun shining through the canopy, ecology background
Under the Arch of Elms
by Marilyn Zelke-Windau

The breeze would float elm leaves
like the little oval pancakes
we hoped for each Saturday morning
venturing out on a heat buttered griddle.

We’d lie on the grass in the front yard,
count as many as we knew numbers,
think of the serrated knife,
the bread knife,
try to slice pebbles
with elm leaves.

Summer heat trapped the upstairs
of a Chicago bungalow,
made us tired-cry
to sleep out under the arch
of elms.

We pedaled trikes, bikes
in their safe tunnel,
played hopscotch,
four-square, concentration
in the street
of their protection.

Summer green to fall yellow,
we blanketed our dollies
with elm warmth.
November gone, March emerged.
We followed their pattern
and grew, too.

I packed a suitcase
within their shadows,
moved my childhood to the suburbs,
heard they were ill.
Their dying did not open the sky.
Their dying did not open their limb-arms.
Their dying only offered emptiness, youth gone,
a grave under the arch of my elms.

PHOTO: “Elm leaves” by ST8, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Traveling back to a childhood home, on a street now empty of trees, was like going to a funeral. Gone were the beautiful elms of my childhood, their lives taken by Dutch elm disease. Gone also was my youth, but not my memories of it.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marilyn Zelke-Windau is a Wisconsin poet and a former elementary school art teacher. She enjoys painting with words. Her poems have appeared in many printed and online venues including Verse Wisconsin, Stoneboat, Your Daily Poem, Midwest Prairie Review, and several anthologies. Her chapbook Adventures in Paradise (Finishing Line Press) and a full-length manuscript, Momentary Ordinary (Pebblebrook Press), were both published in 2014. She adds her maiden name when she writes to honor her father, who was also a writer.

by Alex Carr-Malcolm

The birds ceased to sing
from the day we were condemned.
Our underpinning corroded,
pulling the floor from under us,
everything subsided, along with our dreams.

The floors had started to slope,
and the cracks no longer hidden.

My beautiful childhood home —
Twenty-two rooms, orchards, greens, woods,
and a church at the bottom of the garden.

I kissed the cross, and all four walls,
before my dreams were demolished.

Re-housed in a flat-line estate
council regulation green and avocado,
five rooms and no soul,
the transistor, tinny tune,
Where’s your Mama gone?
echoing in my heart.

PHOTO: Hazlehurst, Hasland, Derbyshire — The author’s childhood home.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My mother was a caretaker of a beautiful Georgian house — once a vicarage. It was a day centre for ex-miners who had been disabled at work; it was also offices for the Coalite Company (Ciswo). The house was called Hazlehurst, and I lived there from 1967 to 1977. The foundations of the house collapsed due to mining in the area, and it was decided to demolish the house. We were rehoused in a two bedroom council flat. During this period my parents’ marriage broke up and my mother left.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexandra Carr-Malcolm was born and raised in Chesterfield, Derbyshire (United Kingdom). She now lives in Yorkshire and works as a freelance British Sign Language Interpreter within the Yorkshire region. Alex has been featured in many collaborative anthologies by Dagda Publishing where part of the proceeds is 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


by Joseph Johnston

The death of my dreaming renaissance during the great migration east was summarized in a puny, beeping box called Wesclox and it was time to get up for my first day of high school in a city I’d only arrived in the day before.

My parents were 1,200 miles west trying to sell our house, and I was holed up in my uncle’s old bedroom back east at Grandma and Grandpa’s. I snoozed the alarm and turned on a bedside lamp in the bicentennial decor common when my uncle slept there. The patriotic lampshade illuminated a bookcase, and I grabbed what would be my scripture for the following three months until my family joined me in this unfamiliar land. The book was Charles Schulz’s Happiness is a Warm Puppy and at that moment no one in history had written a more peaceful tome.

I couldn’t eat breakfast. My stomach was closed. It was on Mountain Time, two hours prior, and used to summertime sleeping-in besides. Grandpa dropped me off at school and told me to ask for the registrar.

I was unregistered. Anywhere. No one knew where I was. No one knew who I was. Nobody in the world was accounting for me.

I walked right on by the high school and headed for the woods beyond the ballfield. I heard cicadas for the first time and thought it was the sound of electricity traversing the high-tension power lines above. There were no aspen trees but plenty of maple. The yards had green grass instead of yucca arrangements. No mountains but a sea of corn. And a lake. Not a reservoir; a natural lake.

I’d deal with my locker room fear tomorrow. I missed my family. My house. I didn’t need school. I needed baptism in that lake.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I don’t have any pics of myself from that move, but this is the cover of my uncle’s Peanuts book that provided me such solace during that time. One page in particular, indicating happiness was walking across the grass in your bare feet, remains a kind of mantra.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was 14, my family moved from Colorado to Michigan in truncated fashion: my little brother and I arrived by air so I could begin high school on the first day, my father followed a week later to begin his new job, and finally after two months my mother and the rest of my siblings arrived and things gradually got back to normal. It was a bizarre time, rife with a disjointed homesickness that was evidenced perfectly when I realized no one in school authority had any idea who I was or where I’d come from or where I was supposed to be.

joe johnston

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Writer and filmmaker Joseph Johnston made his first movie at the age of 11, an industrial espionage thriller that continues to play to excited crowds in his parent’s living room every Christmas. His prose, poetry, and video literature have appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Arcadia, and Iron Horse Literary Review. He currently resides in Michigan, where is working on a documentary and book about the history of boxing in Detroit.

by Reina Adriano

In preparation: the mind quick enough
not to linger on anything, but to simply

understand. It’s been eight years since
dust unsettled on these keys. What piece

was last played before we left? It was Chopin,
I think. Cadence through the black and white

of memory: the pacing, going back to the first
note, the first dissonance of silence. How unperturbed

distance may seem when the echoes start
subsiding along these walls, forgotten.

Father would shout at Mother who cursed
at every wrong thing. Every evening such noises

through the playing. Then we would enjoy
the pretended solitude of the piano.

Gradations of difficulty: staccato undone,
my hands cannot force anger in themselves.

The piano could not be brought with us. The anticipation,
the longing for return. What to miss more — the music

or the silence? There seemed to be less of
the former. It’s exhausting; the mind or

the body restrains itself but nevertheless relents
to the exercise. How do we master the silence?

The noise followed us wherever we went.

PHOTO: Photo of the author by Ria Panis (Quezon City, Philippines, 2013).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Arpeggio” is the interspersing of music and silence in the walls of an old home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Reina Adriano is a double major in Applied Mathematics and Creative Writing at the Ateneo de Manila University. She was a fellow for the essay in the Twentieth Ateneo Heights Writers Workshop and the Fourteenth Ateneo National Writers Workshop and was also selected as a participant in the 2015 Iowa International Writing Program for Nonfiction. Her works have been published in the previous issues of Heights, transit, and Plural Prose Journal. She currently lives in Quezon City.

porch pic 2
Twenty-Eight Boxes
by Virginia Lowe

John had already left
our rural city
for his new job in Melbourne.
I waited with the toddler
and my parents
in the empty house.
Everything packed
and ready to go
Food, nappies
Nothing was left

A moving van
pulls up outside
Driven five hundred miles
from Melbourne
and overnighted
somewhere I presume
Right on time, but so small

Two jolly giants bounced in
ready to begin
Their faces dropped
as they surveyed
our possessions
They could clearly see
that as we feared
the furniture, the crockery
clothing and ornaments
just would not fit

Turned away shaking their heads
We knew no one could have
That many books!
But John, a librarian, had
just moved his library
to a new building
he knew exactly
and had filled it out
on the form

Two double beds
One sofa, one dining table
one cot, one washing machine
So it went on
And our two book collections
together made up
only twenty-eight boxfuls

they set off back to Melbourne
to return two days later
While we set to unpacking
the bedding, the food
the nappies
To survive living
another two days
in a packed up house.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The toddler and her parents on the veranda of the house we were moving from.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  When I was a child, we moved house every two years. I have lived in the present house for 42 years. We hope never to have to move, but in the first four years of our marriage we moved four times – moving here to Melbourne was the fifth and last. And who knows how many books we own now? Not only no more bookshelves, but no walls to put them on, either! It must be time to cull!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Virginia Lowe has been writing poetry for about 50 years. She has a PhD in children’s literature and her thesis has been published as a book Stories, Pictures and Reality: Two Children Tell (Routledge 1996). For 20 years she has run the manuscript assessment agency Create a Kids’ Book. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband, adult grandson, two Devon Rex cats, and seven Isa Brown hens.

AUTHOR PHOTO:  The author today with a wild friend.

peter tellone
The Movers
by Cynthia Anderson

Every ferryman has to start
somewhere. In the dog days
of August, young Charon
gets his chance: after six years
of packing the truck, they let him
drive it, before dawn, across the desert
to meet Gilgamesh and Enkidu.
Older, wiser in tomfoolery,
the two fast friends watch
that eager pup injure his paw
and bleed himself off the job,
leaving them free to unload
the way they wanted.
King G, tall, blond, and lean,
sings the furniture’s praises
to the lady of the house,
while Enki, a swarthy
stevedore, recites the litany
of local threats: fire ants,
scorpions, snakes, and worse,
the killer who descends
through the cooler duct
straight into the living room.
He grins with his parting shot—
You’ll have to deal with them
whether you like it or not.

PHOTO: “Sunset, Hidden Valley” (Joshua Tree National Park, California) by Peter Tellone. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In 2008, my husband Bill Dahl and I moved from the California coast to the tiny Mojave Desert town of Joshua Tree—in August, the hottest month of the year. One young man drove the moving van all night from the coast to our new home. Two movers from San Bernardino joined him on site to unload. As the poem relates, the young man injured himself and the two San Bernardino men completed the job. One man in particular hated the desert and made sure to tell us why. As for us, our love for the desert—the climate, the wildlife, the wide open spaces, and the peace and quiet—continues unabated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Askew, Dark Matter, Apercus Quarterly, Whale Road, Knot Magazine, and Origami Poems Project. She is the author of five collections—In the Mojave, Desert Dweller, Mythic Rockscapes, and Shared Visions I and II. She frequently collaborates with her husband, photographer Bill Dahl. Cynthia co-edited the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens.

Leaving Home
by Edie Ravenelle

At 55, I am finally leaving home.

But in walking through my now-empty childhood home one last time, I may as well be five, sitting on the speckled linoleum-tile floor of my playroom nook at the base of the back staircase, playing Barbies. Or 10, standing on a sturdy pine footstool at our 1960s Formica kitchen counter, cracking open the hazelnuts that my Czech mom will use to make my favorite Christmas cookies. Or 15, spinning and waltz-jumping across the early-winter black-ice on the pond behind my house, pretending to be Dorothy Hamill.

For the past nine months — nine months exactly from when my 91-year-old mom died and left me to clean out 62 years of “waste not, want not” accumulation — my 2,541 square foot childhood home has been a living, breathing time capsule. As I sorted everything into “save,” sell,” “donate,” or “toss,” my emotions followed suit. I was so happy to discover the post-World War II love letters that my parents had written to one another across an ocean. But sadness paused my purge of broken things when I again held the wall phone receiver that had transmitted the news of my older sister’s sudden death on her 30th birthday. And I actually laughed out loud when I read the tiny handwritten note pinned to a half-finished piece of exquisite petit point embroidery that my mom had stuffed into a reused plastic produce bag: “I started, you finish!”

It’s so like my mom to be telling me what to do, even now.

As I pull the front door closed behind me, I smile thinking about the mom, dad, and their two young children who will soon be moving in. Their realtor told mine that the mom is of Czech descent. I’m not at all surprised.

IMAGE: Vintage petit point embroidery of house.

Edie and Oma (5)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Edie Ravenelle is a writer, editor and marketing communications consultant who lives west of Boston. Her marketing work has appeared in regional news media, and her creative work can be found at,, BannerBiz (Bay State Banner), and

PHOTO: The author  celebrating her mom’s 91st birthday on Oct. 15, 2015 in Sudbury, Massachusetts.