Archives for posts with tag: vacations

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Tywyn, 1974
by Cynthia Anderson

There’s magic in being led to a place,
riding the train toward a dot on the map
and seeing what happens. We were two
American girls studying in London,
on spring holiday, Tywyn our first stop—
enchanted by the Welsh elf-land,
damp and quiet under grey clouds.
We carried our bags down empty streets
to a whitewashed B&B—where the proprietor,
a grandmother, brought us into her family
as naturally as breathing. She filled the holes
in our itinerary—insisted we attend church,
coaxed her grown son to take us hiking.
After a snug night in beds with hot water
bottles, and breakfast enough for ten,
we walked the beach to Aberdyfi,
sand wide as the sea, the tide so distant
we barely reached it, ourselves the only
humans in sight. On Sunday, at the old
stone church of St. Cadfan, we were greeted
from the pulpit as “our American friends”
and stood transfixed by Welsh hymns—
ordinary folk with the voices of angels.
Then a ramble in emerald hills, our guide
and his dogs putting us at ease. We knew
nothing would equal the start of our journey—
nearly stayed, but left with regret—strangers
who came with blind luck and rail passes
and received more than we guessed.

PHOTO: Scenery outside Tywyn, Snowdon, Wales by David Young.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve always treasured memories of a trip to Wales that I took with my college friend Ann nearly 50 years ago. Everything was new, unfamiliar, a grand adventure—we took our chances, and we were blessed by the travel gods time and again. I have just two faded photos from that trip—one of Ann on the beach at Aberdyfi, described in the poem—and the other, a bucolic stream where we came upon a young girl and her grandfather as we were hiking. She looked at him with rapt attention as he spun her a story. At some point later on that hike, I realized that I’d lost my wallet while rock-hopping in the stream. Determined to find it, I retraced our steps and sure enough, there it was, sitting on a rock in the middle of the water as though the travel gods had left it there for me to find.

PHOTO: Wales stream by Cynthia Anderson (1974).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cynthia Anderson has published 11 poetry collections, most recently Full Circle (Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2022) and The Missing Peace (Velvet Dusk Publishing, 2021). Her poems frequently appear in journals and anthologies, and her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Cynthia is co-editor of the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens. She has lived in California for over 40 years.  Visit her at

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Bodega Bay
by Sheila Sondik

The dunes changed shape every year
and every year the change surprised us.
We flew kites, snapped bull kelp like whips.
The giant shrub ate our shuttlecocks and wiffle balls.

We found an LP of Just So Stories in a closet
and played it for our daughters.
The great, gray-green, greasy Limpopo River,
all set about with fever-trees…

We’d sit in the tiny, whitewashed porch,
and watch the broad creek riffle in the breeze.
Only here, we indulged in saltwater
taffy and 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles.

Great blue herons stalked Salmon Creek
while ospreys dive-bombed for their dinner.

Next door, a mysterious round structure
gave off a counterculture scent.
Lines of pelicans back from the brink
coasted over the surly gray-green Pacific.

Farther up the dunes, I poured sand
from plastic bucket to sandmill
and watched the spinning paddlewheel
with a dumb joy I still can’t fathom.

Previously published in Williwaw Journal Issue 3 (Spring, 2018).

PAINTING: Bodega Bay by ClaudiaSavageArt. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sheila Sondik is a poet and printmaker in Bellingham, Washington. Her poetry has appeared in CALYX, Kettle Blue Review, The Raven Chronicles, Floating Bridge Review, frogpond, and many other journals. She has degrees from Harvard College and California College of the Arts. Egress Studio Press published her chapbook Fishing a Familiar Pond: Found Poetry from The Yearling in 2013. Her artwork and links to her poetry are available at

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Rehoboth Beach
by Beverly M. Collins

Sand crabs tried to hide themselves
from capture in the palm of my hand.
Like all of us, they carried home on their back.
The splash sounds of the ocean mixed well
with the welcome smell of salt water.
My sisters and cousins laughed at each
other’s newness-reactions.
Awkward is fun when you love who
you laugh at, the humor felt like safety.
Sand and water gave in to our imaginations.
We buried our pirate uncle up to his chest as
a joint project and worked together to build a
sand castle that the evening tide quickly
washed away. Joy was simple as sunset, sand,
breeze with more sunset, sand and breeze.

IMAGE: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, beach scene, available at Lantern Press.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For this particular poem, I wanted to recall my deeper memories of our extended family’s time at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, when I was a child. I was born in Delaware and raised in New Jersey. Some of my fondest childhood memories were our visits in the summer with our family members that were still located there. I wanted to include the sights, feelings, sounds, and smells that impressed me most at that time. This was one of my favorite beaches in Delaware.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beverly M. Collins is author of the books Quiet Observations: Diary Thought, Whimsy and Rhyme and Mud in Magic. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications based in USA, England, Ireland, Australia, India, Germany, and Canada both in print and online. Winner of a 2019 Naji Naaman Literary prize in Creativity (Lebanon), she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and is a prize winner for the California State Poetry Society. Born in Delaware and raised in New Jersey (USA), her photography can be found on Fine Art America products, Shutterstock, iStock/Getty images, Adobe Stock, and other sites. Visit her at, and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Café, Switzerland
by Pauline Flynn

Viewed from the outside,
nothing momentous happened that day.
It was my nineteenth birthday
and I’d pinned a sprig of edelweiss,
soft as a fresh fall of snow,
onto my frock and set off with Heidi
to buy coffee and chocolate
over the Swiss border with Germany.

At 11 a.m. we stopped at a café
and I saw her on the terrace
reading a paperback.
Drawn to the relaxed way she sat
in the chair, her face shadowed
by the slight droop of her head,
the book resting on the edge
of the table, her order already served,
she took no notice of us.

I folded the dollop of ice cream
into cold coffee, and sank
into a sanctuary of silence.
I often think of her, unaware,
how on that day she’d bequeathed to me
a silver salver piled high with gifts.

PHOTO: Edelweiss and mountains, Switzerland. Photo by Ayko Neil Kehl on Unsplash.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was quite a naïve young woman living away from my home in Ireland when I saw the woman in the poem. My background was conservative and life choices for women were limited.  It was mid-morning and this woman was out and about enjoying her solitude and taking time for herself. Something about her opened up something in me whereby I could visualize a different kind of future for my life than the one expected of me. I never forgot her.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pauline Flynn is an Irish Visual Artist/Poet. Shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2010, her work has appeared in literary journals, including Skylight 47, Boyne Berries, Sixteen Magazine, Into the Light, Light Journal, Orbis 81, and The Blue Nib. 

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What We Bought at the Market
by Ralph Earle

on the old deck
by the old docks
at a weather-worn table
together after eighteen months
we raise a glass
to this meal from the old market
wild and bitter watercress
rich flesh of tomatoes
honest and humble
air-dried sausage
bakery baguette
Bretonne butter
soft-hearted Neufchâtel’s aroma
rising from a crumbling mantle
Camembert almost urbane
chèvre bleu with a bouquet
of sourness and warm chalk
strawberries unexpectedly
recalling the wild
ones I ate as a child
and red wine
arrived from the south
raised to the reunion
the sunshine the sea air

IMAGE: Charcuterie board by kgbranch, poster available at REDBUBBLE.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I recently visited my son and his family in France, I was overwhelmed at the quantity and quality of food sold at the Saturday open-air market. I was spending the month writing a new poem every morning in a variety of different forms, so the following day yielded this ode to the previous evening’s dinner, maintaining a focus on the tangible qualities of the food itself, while capturing the festive tone of our post-Covid (or intra-Covid) reunion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ralph Earle lives near Raleigh, North Carolina, where he designs websites for poets and other creative people. He holds a Ph.D. in English from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he taught poetry before working in the high-tech industry. His collection The Way the Rain Works won the 2015 Sable Books Chapbook Award. Recent poems have appeared in Indelible, Tar River Poetry, Triggerfish Critical Review, and Sufi Journal.

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Calving at Glacier Bay
by Karen George

We wake before dawn, rise to the promenade
deck while the onboard naturalist broadcasts

seeds of glacial wisdom. As our ship queues
to enter the inner sanctum, thousands maneuver

for spots at the rail. Ice floes bob, unveiled
by tendrils of first light. Many hold hands

while we glide through the bay’s mouth.
So much silence. Even he no longer explains

how slabs of ice cleave and, seconds later,
thunder-crack and impact arrive. Cloistered

by cliffs of blue ice, our lungs bathed
in elemental air, we spoon to view the sacred text,

and I believe every wrong unwound,
all ebbed back to innocence, your cancer cured.

Originally published in the author’s chapbook, Inner Passage (Red Bird Chapbooks) and the collection Swim Your Way Back (Dos Madres Press).

PHOTO: Glacier Bay, Alaska. Photo by Brad on Unsplash.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem about the memory of visiting Glacier Bay on an Alaskan cruise that my husband and I took four months before he died. The cruise was filled with such beauty, and at the same time, such sorrow because my husband had stage IV terminal cancer. I’m often struck by how joy and sadness are sometimes inextricably mixed. Visiting Glacier Bay while the sun rose was one of the most wondrous sights I’ve ever witnessed, and I’ll always treasure experiencing that memory with my husband Richard. Calving is the term that describes when an iceberg or glacier splits and sheds a huge mass of ice directly into the sea. It sounds like thunder.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen George is author of five chapbooks as well as three poetry collections from Dos Madres Press: Swim Your Way Back (2014), A Map and One Year (2018), and Where Wind Tastes Like Pears (2021). She won Slippery Elm’s 2022 Poetry Contest, and her short story collection, How We Fracture, winner of the Rosemary Daniell Fiction Prize, is forthcoming from Minerva Rising Press in Spring 2023. Her work appears in Adirondack Review, Atticus Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Indianapolis Review, Poet Lore, and I-70 Review. Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

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Chinese Restaurant (London 1988)
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

This is my favorite
Chinese restaurant in London,
my dad declares as we climb
a long dark flight of stairs
in a timeless building
where a hostess waits at the top.
I order cashew chicken—
the sauce is clear, fragrant
(there & yet not there).
The chicken is so white,
the cashews are fat & golden.
Rice awaits in a red bowl,
every grain tiny as a second.
As the lights go on
in Piccadilly Circus, my dad & I talk
in a circle of candlelight
by the window while the cashews
resemble crescent moons shining
on the china plate or little ears
listening avidly to our conversation
(which flows like warm tea)—
& the check doesn’t come
for hours & hours.

PHOTO: Cathay Chinese Restaurant, Glasshouse Street, Piccadilly Circus, London, England (1982).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My late dad inhabits many of my poems. This poem is about when I went to London on my own when I was in my early twenties. My father met me there; he was working in Germany at the time. We had a brief, splendid visit together. I wish I could remember the name of that Chinese restaurant; it was a mysterious oasis above Piccadilly Circus and had the best food ever (authentic, as they say). My dad and I talked of many things that night like we always did. He was endlessly fascinating with a gorgeous sense of humor. During our visit we also went to a Russian restaurant called Borscht N Tears, where we had caviar and encountered unruly Germans – but that is another good memory.

EDITOR’S NOTE: According to The Guardian, Britain’s first mainstream Chinese restaurant, Cathay, arrived in London’s Piccadilly Circus area during 1908, setting off the UK’s love of Chinese cuisine that has never waned.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is a Midwestern poet with a worldview. Her poems have appeared in various diverse journals online and in print. She lives, writes, despairs, and tries to hope in America. A cedar Poetry Box called The Fox Poetry Box is mounted on a post in her front yard.

yosemite adams
Duplex: Where Everything Gets Unraveled Just Right*
by Jonathan Yungkans

The lake glittered as if weightless and we laughed.
Birds rested and twittered on the tree of me.

          Foliage shattered, the perched flock startled.
          Bird flights like mountain roads—soaring curves and bends.

Mountain road climbed, twisted toward Yosemite.
I was seven. The ocean heaved out of me.

          The ocean heaved. Dad eased our camper truck down.
          Side road, thick with pines, led to a riverbank.

Walls of thick pines to a fabric skein of water.
Sun shone through loose strands, sparkled through the weave.

          Sun pulled loose as it sparkled through the weave.
          Its reflection flashed, a grin in the water.

The water washed a smile into me.
Weightless, the lake glittered as we both laughed.

*Title taken from the poem “From Palookaville,” in the collection Hotel Lautréamont by John Ashbery. 

An earlier version of this poem appeared in MacQueen’s Quinterly, Issue 10 (October 2021).

PHOTO: Mirror Lake, Morning, Yosemite National Park, California by Ansel Adams (1928).

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE FORM: Jericho Brown combined aspects of the sonnet, ghazal, and blues poem to create the duplex form in 2018. It is a 14-line poem written in two-line stanzas, in which the second line of one stanza is echoed in the first line of the following one. Each line runs between nine and eleven syllables and is meant to stand, in the strictest use of the form, as an independent entity. The opening line is repeated, or at least echoed, at the close to bring the poem full-circle. While I have treated the form somewhat more loosely in several of my other duplexes, I have tried to remain on better behavior here. I have also written a craft essay on my use of the form, which appeared in MacQueen’s Quinterly.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is the one memory of family vacations which has stayed with me consistently. (Since my mom raised and showed collies and Shetland sheepdogs for about 20 years while I was growing up, many of our weekends were taken up with dog shows and other business-related activities.) We were on our first vacation, on the outskirts of Sequoia National Forest in Central California. I got violently carsick while riding in the upper bunk of our cabover camper through a winding mountain road. Mom walked my brother and me down to the lake while Dad took care of the mess. I was scared and felt guilty. It didn’t help that I wasn’t a happy kid in general—I was mainly quiet, afraid to say peep. Maybe it was the sight of another family splashing and having fun just offshore, or maybe the river really seemed to laugh and smile to cheer me up. Regardless of why, it worked.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jonathan Yungkans continues to write while working as an in-home health-care provider. This gives him time to catch his breath and imbibe copious amounts of coffee while staying connected to humanity in something approaching a constructive manner. His writing and photography have appeared in MacQueen’s Quinterly, Panoply, Synkroniciti, and other publications. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, was published by Tebot Bach in 2021.

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Dewey Beach, 2022
(for Paul and Estelle)
by Bunkong Tuon

The first time we went on vacation since COVID hit.
The first time my son put his feet in the sand,
Felt waves crashing, his eyes lit up.
Laughter cascading through his little body.
The first time my daughter dipped her head in the
Cool pool water, practicing trust in
Herself and the world,
The next day she kicked her legs, moved her arms,
Propelled her body forward.
Her Yiayia said, “You’re swimming, Chanda,
You’re swimming.” And the world we left behind
Disappeared. Of six million lives lost to the virus.
Of quarantines, school shootings, and isolation.
And childhood magic returned. I thought of my own
Upbringing. Refugee. Orphan.
Child survivor of the Cambodian Genocide.
How I wanted to give my kids a childhood
I never had. A father who is there
Holding their hands. Laughing as
Waves crash against their feet.
Chanting their names as they practice
How to live in this mad world.
Hollering in delight at their triumphs,
Hugging, and kissing their heads
When they need comfort.
Today, I’m giving extra love against Omicron
& its variants, against school shootings &
Police violence, against war & childhood traumas,
Against a world on the verge of destruction.
I’m giving extra love for orphans & refugees
Of the world.
Oh sweet, tender, crazy love,
Help me undo the hurt and loneliness
Of my childhood.

IMAGE: Dewey Beach, Delaware, birchwood postcards, available at Amazon.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am an orphan who became a father to two beautiful children, and I wanted to give to my kids what I didn’t have when I was young. When the pandemic hit, all that love and that desire for my children to have a normal childhood intensified. In the summer of 2022, my wife’s parents rented a beach house in Delaware, where the kids had a great time. For a quick second, it almost felt like everything was back to “normal.” Dear readers, I take each day with my kids as a gift, as I should. I am grateful to be alive and be with my kids.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bunkong Tuon is a Cambodian-American writer and critic. He is the author of GruelAnd So I Was Blessed (both published by NYQ Books), The Doctor Will Fix It (Shabda Press), and Dead Tongue (Yes Poetry). His prose and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Copper Nickel, The Lowell Review, Massachusetts Review, The American Journal of Poetry, carte blanche, Diode Poetry Journal, Paterson Literary Review, Consequence, among others. He teaches at Union College, in Schenectady, New York.

How to Return to Paradise
by Lisa Molina

Rhythmic pumping
whooshing womb wave
sounds crash upon the
darkening beach;

My toes sink slightly in soft sand;
White frothy foam washes up and clings to my legs.

I look up to the tiny sparkling eyes,
winking at me through
the onyx cover above.

Are they watching me
sparkle, wink, and shine?

As we gaze on each other,
I begin to spin.
As I turn turn turn,
the water begins to rise.

Rising up my calves, knees, thighs.

Up to my belly;
the scar that once connected
me to my mother’s womb,
and the belly that held my own babies.

It rises up over my breasts
that fed them warm milk,
and my heart still pulsing with life.

Feeling the soothing water
around my body and neck;

Throwing my head back as joyous
Laughter laughter laughter
Bursts forth from my mouth.

The stars and I still
shining on each other,
and Luna smiling down on me.

Louder laughter as the
nourishing waters of Eden
slowly climb
up up up
until my head is
covered completely;

My hair caressing my
face and shoulders.

My feet lift off the
floor of the Earth.

I’m floating,
in the

From whence all Life began.

My soul smiles.
It knows it
is safe

As it returns
to the depths
of Paradise.

PHOTO: Mermaid by Sergei Tokmakov, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote “How to Return to Paradise” as a way to help myself cope with many challenges of life during the past year. When I have anxiety, images and sounds of water, especially the beach, always help to quell my worries. Since I am unable to go to the beach, due to Covid, this poem enabled me to “go there” through writing poetry.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: While not bingeing on her new favorite writer’s works, Lisa Molina can be found working with students with special needs, writing, singing, playing the piano, or marveling at nature with her family. She has lived in Austin, Texas, since earning her BFA at the University of Texas. Her poetry has been featured in Trouvaille Review, Beyond Words Magazine, Poems in the Afterglow, Sad Girls Club Literary Blog, Ancient Paths, The Poet Magazine, The Daily Drunk, Tiny Seed Journal, Down in the Dirt Magazine, with poems soon to be featured in Amethyst Review. You can read her poetry at