Archives for posts with tag: Relationships

Picture 52
by Joan Colby

Our daughter is at the door with
A plastic baggie containing two masks
And some alcohol wipes. Ordered from China
A month ago,they have finally arrived
In time, we hope, to save us.

I contemplate if you had survived
How would we have managed—getting you to the
Clinics for the treatments that kept you alive.
These clinics might be closed like
Everything else. To shelter in place, for you
Would have been suicide.

Anyway, you died before that could
Happen. One bad thing, at least, that you
Dodged. You could hardly breathe—
How would you have tolerated this mask?

O my unmasked love, I’m glad you didn’t have
To bear any more even if, for me, it seems
To venture into the poisoned world
With a white cup over my face
Like a muzzled animal—no words, no cry.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written after the death of my husband on Feb. 27 just before the Covid-19 virus hit us. This poem will ultimately be part of a book to be called The Salt Widow.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). Her poems are winners of the 2014 and 2016 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. She also was selected as an International Merit Award Winner in the 2015 Atlanta Review contest She has published 22 books including  Selected  Poems, which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize  “and Ribcage, which won the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Her latest books are Her Heartsongs  from Presa Press, Joyriding to Nightfall from FutureCycle Press and Bony Old Folks from Cyberwit Press. She has a new book forthcoming from The Poetry Box titled The Kingdom of the Birds. She is a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Good Works Review.

My Front Door with Art
Gorgon in Cameo
by Jennifer Finstrom

          Maybe there is more of the magical
          in the idea of a door than in the door
                    “Doors opening, closing on us,” Marge Piercy

You lock yourself out of your apartment
about thirty days into shelter-in-place,
know as soon as the door shuts behind you
that your keys are on the floor. Since this
all began, you’ve given up the ritual that
had been part of locking the door when
you were going to work, wouldn’t have
forgotten your keys if you’d looked back
at the four small pictures that are the last
things you see as you’re leaving: drawings
of a rearing centauresse and two winged
Roman Genii, Pegasus in flight, and
the one you bought right after your divorce,
the head of Medusa in cameo, her snakes
small curls on her head. You daily asked her
to guard your place and guard your person,
but now no one is looking out for you, and
you’re here in the hallway with a winter
coat over your pajamas, on your way to
walk in the alley behind your building.
Last summer you went on a first date
for the first time in years, spoke a different
prayer as you were leaving, the words
“Army of witch queens, be with me” coming
unbidden. As you wait now for building
maintenance to let you back in, a new
prayer is taking shape. You want a different
life when this ends, but you’ll be so changed
that the words remain formless, and no
new or old door can yet open in response.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Last summer, I began a collection of ekphrastic poems about dating in my fifties. The direction of the poems is shifting in recent days amid the climate of uncertainty, but I’m still keeping on with the project.

Finstrom Picture

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Finstrom is both part-time faculty and staff at DePaul University. She was the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine for 13 years, and recent publications include Dime Show Review, Eunoia Review, Stirring, and Thimble Literary Magazine, with work forthcoming in Gingerbread House Literary Magazine and  Rust + Moth. Her work also appears in Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks and several other Silver Birch Press anthologies.

All Doors Are Locked Except the Front Door
by Temidayo Jacob

in this house, there are many doors
to open — entrances to elsewhere.

i have a lover — i am addicted to her.
the strangest love i have ever known.

she teaches me how to make love to
myself — something i can’t do alone.

asking her to go out of my life can be
likened to me writing a suicide note.

lately, my lover has been acting like
opener of doors — testing every door

to see which one opens without sound.
last night, we had a brief argument.

this morning, i wake up to a still lover
beside me. all doors are locked except

the front door. my lover left without a
note. a thread from her dress dances on

the door knob. i stare long and hard at
the door thinking of what life without

my lover will wear. tonight, i’m thinking
of going after her through the front door.

i mean, my heart beats to die after my
late lover and there is nothing i can do.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Here, front door is a metaphor for death. We all have people we love so much or are addicted to or feel we can’t live without them. When they leave, there is usually this urge of joining them wherever they may be.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Temidayo Jacob is a sociologist who writes from the North Central part of Nigeria, with his work published in many local and international journals and anthologies, online and in print.

Shadows on the Door
by Terrence Sykes

As daylight comes to closure
I lay in bed with another’s lover
My gardening weary body
His blue collar exhausted soul
Yet after a slow smoldering our bodies
Entwine into a fiery falling star
I like you too much — his lament
I make tea for him while he showers
Away with the parable of the adulterous
I open the shades & bedroom window
As the moon shines like a pale rose
I watch him drive away but then
Slowly shut my door so his other cannot see

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The process of this piece was a clashing of memories…real or imagined…of Los Angeles vacations & East Coast home imagination of once or future lovers.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Although Terrence Sykes is a far better gardener & forager & cook…his poetry-photography-flash fiction has been published in Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland, India, Mauritius, Pakistan, Scotland, Spain and the USA…he was born and raised in the rural coal mining area of Virginia and this  isolation brings the theme of remembrance to his creations — whether real or imagined.

Das front door
These locked-down days
by Subhankar Das

She said come on baby light my virus.
I looked at the deserted road
From my balcony
There were two crows
In their nest
On top of a long long light post.
They know about distancing baby.
The she crow will soon be talking
With her babies.

She is so far away
How can I even try to set the night on fire?
Come on baby light my virus she said.
It was a long distance call
In these lock-down days
The front door is always shut
No one comes knocking.

I will come when all this ends
She said
Or maybe this is just a line she thought
To write on her blue top?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poet and Publisher of Bangla experimental stuff, Subhankar Das has 30 published books of Bangla and English poetry.

by Kelley White

You’ve got a map open again
plotting a route away from me.
I know you’ll take days to pack
and there may be a few tender
moments, a meal shared, laughter
the farewell promise to return.
We both say its for the best but
I whisper no to myself, this domestic
war almost done, your hat gone
from the door hook, your coat,
your shoes no longer scattered
with dirty socks around the floor,
less dishes in the sink, less towels
to wash and even your little
dog is quiet, sleeping in front
of the open door.

Previously published in Fullosia Press.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It truly cheered me to hear from Silver Birch Press today—I wanted to send something in reply right away. This is an older poem, written with sadness, but the door in the poem is open . . . and the relationship, somehow, actually has endured, though the couple are currently somewhat quarantined as one is a health care worker and the other is in his seventies with renal failure . . .

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

Tennille door
When Peace Departs
by Alarie Tennille

You pack a bag, leave
our house, pull the front
door closed between us.
Silence soon rumbles
room to room, scratching
itself. It rattles
windows, presses
an ear to the door, leans
over me in bed. Clicks
its teeth – tick, tick, tick.

CREDIT: A version of this poem was first published in the author’s collection Waking on the Moon.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For almost 43 years, my husband has made me feel happy, safe, and loved. I get nervous being alone at night on those rare occasions when Chris travels and wrote this poem while he was away. Our cats, though meaning well with their house patrols, often impersonate intruders. Now, like many of you, I’m a bit bonkers over being housebound, but togetherness is still a blessing.

Tennille copy1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alarie Tennille graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place. Her latest poetry collection is Waking on the Moon. Her first collection, Running Counter Clockwise, was first runner-up for the Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence (both books available on Amazon). She was recently honored to receive a 2020 Fantastic Ekphrastic Award from The Ekphrastic Review. Please visit her at to check out her blog and learn more about her writing.

Patrick T. Reardon.......
Saw you at the hop
by Patrick T. Reardon

I was nine when I saw
you through open
eighth grade door —
before you went to
Army, to Europe, to
Normandy Beach a
week after D-Day,
and hernia, and
British nurse Betsie,
and Germany, the camp.

Later, a man at the
Thomist Club dance
in school basement —
what was that year? —
your head close to
low ceiling, thin, solid,
arms akimbo.

I told you to dance
with me. Your eyes
dove into my brain
and neck and lungs
and chest and heart
and stomach and dark
place, full of light.

I am your island,
you, my fortress.
We close our front
door around each
other, over us, like
a counterpane, and
I am persuaded
that neither debt nor
wealth, nor demons,
nor powers, nor
tempting, nor
weaknesses, nor
now, nor future,
nor then, nor
height, nor depth,
nor width, nor sons
nor daughters in
their wildernesses,
nor all, nor nothing,
shall separate us.
We are enough.

PHOTO: The author outside his home in Chicago.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My parents fell in love at the post-war dances in the late 1940s in the parish hall of the church and school they had earlier attended, four or five grades apart, St. Thomas Aquinas.  This poem is, in a roundabout way, about their front door and about their eyeball-to-eyeball love for each other.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon, who has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize, is the author of eight books, including the poetry collection Requiem for David and Faith Stripped to Its Essence, a literary-religious analysis of Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence. His poetry has appeared in Silver Birch Press, San Antonio Review, Ariel Chart, Cold Noon, Eclectica, Esthetic Apostle, Ground Fresh Thursday, Literary Orphans, Rhino, Spank the Carp, Main Street Rag, Down in the Dirt, Picaroon, Time for Singing, The Write Launch, Hey I’m Alive, Meat for Tea, Tipton Poetry Journal, UCity Review, Under a Warm Green Linden and The Write City. Reardon, who worked as a Chicago Tribune reporter for 32 years, has published essays and book reviews widely in such publications as the Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, National Catholic Reporter and U.S. Catholic. His novella Babe was short-listed by Stewart O’Nan for the annual Faulkner-Wisdom Contest. His Pump Don’t Work blog can be found at

The New Room
by Tamara Madison

When Dad came home the front door slammed
and the house shook. After a scotch and water
he’d settle down. When we built the “new room,”
Mom took that slammed door, covered it
with mosaic tiles, gave it some legs, put it
in the center of the room – a coffee table.

I used to dance on it, in spite of the unfriendly tiles.
The “new room” had a bigger door and a cold entry
with a terrazzo floor that echoed the slams
throughout the house. With the music up loud,
the old door was my dance floor. I could be

a go-go girl until Dad came home from another
angry day at work. I’d jump off the table,
turn that music off as soon as I’d spot the pickup
trailing a cone of dust up the driveway,
and brace myself for another wall-shaking slam.

AUTHOR’S CAPTION: This is what remains of the house that was first entered by the door that later became a coffee table. It was on my family’s citrus farm near Mecca, California. The corporation that bought the property ripped out all the citrus trees and later they razed the house where I grew from small.

coffee table
AUTHOR’S CAPTION: This coffee table is a little bit like the one my mother made from our front door. It was bigger and had some kind of thick blocks for legs and a more chaotic, colorful mosaic pattern. This is the closest I could find online.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbook The Belly Remembers, and two full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic and Moraine, all published by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, Your Daily Poem, A Year of Being Here, Nerve Cowboy, the Writer’s Almanac, Sheila-Na-Gig and many other publications. She has recently retired from teaching English and French in Los Angeles and is happy to finally get some sleep. More about Tamara can be found at

Author photo by Sharon De La O.

Collateral Damage
by Michael Minassian

I just wanted to say
that I won’t be coming home
anytime soon, so it’s OK if you
throw out the boxes
I didn’t have time to pack
in my car before you came back
from work; I’m sorry I didn’t
stick around to tell you in person,
but if I could have sent a drone
to bomb our bedroom
I’d accept any collateral damage:
my favorite shirt, the few cd’s, & cologne
I left behind, the photograph of you
that time we saw an alligator
in the canal (too bad you didn’t fall in);
so don’t wait up for me or bother to check
your voice mail, I won’t be calling
& even if I did, these are not the verbs
I would use, WTF do you think?

IMAGE: “Boxer” by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1982).


Michael Minassian 
lives in San Antonio, Texas. His poems have appeared in such journals as The Aurorean,The Broken Plate, Exit 7, The Galway Review, Third Wednesday, and Verse-Virtual. He is also the writer/producer of the podcast series Eye On Literature. Amsterdam Press published a chapbook of poems entitled The Arboriculturist in 2010.

PHOTO: The author in Mexico shortly before the move.