The Cycle Continues – Lidwina Bautista

  I see her — a small, brown woman pushing a baby carriage behind a white woman; sadness envelopes my heart, weep I say will my weeping free her or console her? I see their passive faces wanting to disappear and hide their faces educated women, forced to flee the poverty and bleak future at home.   I wonder what she is thinking fear of people laughing and feeling sorry for her JUST A NANNY, a maid, must comply to her master’s wishes/commands or be sent back to her past from which she is trying to run away.   Hush,…

Read more

Pears – For Kathleen B. Nestor by Mary D’Angelo

  O, how you filled my baby days with sticky sweet-tasting pureed pears, strained through the family sieve. The yellow-skinned fruit with the spherical base and tapered top that you would skin with your sharp knife.   How we laughed when the cat played with the peel, pawing it through the air, while I sat strapped in the high-chair, my mouth shaped in the smallest O, my eyes wider than the years between us.   My mouth a hangar, the spoon of pears a plane that zipped though the air, each swallow followed by a laugh.   How our memories…

Read more

The Weakness – Toi Derricotte

That time my grandmother dragged me through the perfume aisles at Saks, she held me up by my arm, hissing, “Stand up,” through clenched teeth, her eyes bright as a dog’s cornered in the light. She said it over and over, as if she were Jesus, and I were dead. She had been solid as a tree, a fur around her neck, a light-skinned matron whose car was parked, who walked on swirling marble and passed through brass openings — in 1 9 4 5. There was not even a black elevator operator at Saks. The saleswoman had brought velvet…

Read more

The Lover

I want to approach you naked in my musings and black jeans. To join you and share a belly laugh without invading to relax with you listening, attuned to befriend you without crowding. Love and caress you, with no touching skin. To watch the Aspen outside, shudder in the storm, cold. Rain beckons us Water beads Horizontal confetti Tap tap tapping “Cheers” on the window. As I kiss the fine hair dotting the length of your spine, I want to wrap myself around you twice — like I’m six feet tall. Protective, urgent. Make you moan As the wind howls,…

Read more

Heirloom Hocked – Sheryl L. Nelms

  I always gathered spring greens with Gram   down by Mission Creek   we would climb those steep banks picking dock dandelion lamb’s quarter sheep sorrel poke weed and nettles   using knowledge handed down from mother to daughter from England and Ireland   now with Gram dead and a mother who got too sophisticated become uncertain can’t quite remember   how many times do I boil the poke and was it the leaves or the berries?   Sheryl L. Nelms.

Read more

The Buck – Susanna Rich

  When I was ten, Grandmother told me to get her stuffed when she died like the buck head by the door catching webs of evil in his antlers.   She was to be seated in the living room on the sofa (or chair, our choice), facing the piano where I would play Brahms, Liszt and Chopin.   Her eyes were to be open (maybe a little touch of glass, for sparkle) and looking upwards (slightly to the right) like St. Theresa or Sebastian pierced with arrows,   her hands–demurely covered in white lace fingerless gloves– propped holding the dome…

Read more

My Love

I saw you while you watched your love But a moment it was, a glance I seized like a common thief, snapping a photo without permission. As soon as I did, guilt left me stricken. You’re an opportunist, I thought, Always sniffing out the raw, the real, Feathers to my fingertips. I saw you while you watched your love Your body sighed, no longer taut, Face relaxed, eyes melted, Your mouth became moist. Naked you both were, she in her oblivion to being seen and watched You in your light after spotting her. I saw you while you watched your…

Read more

The Sound of My Name – Dily Morris

Over and over I call her back to me– her flowered bathrobe with pink trim around the collar glasses a little crooked hair wispy white. Scuffing blue terrycloth slippers she turns toward me, grasping the counter edge for balance, and speaks my name with more love than anyone ever squeezed into one word. Over and over I listen to the sound of my name– the memory of her, speaking my name.   Dily Morris

Read more

For She Is A Tree Of Life – Marge Piercy

In the cramped living room of my childhood between sagging rough-skinned sofa that made me itch and swaybacked chair surrounded by ashtrays where my father read every word of the paper shrouded in blue smoke, coughed rusty phlegm and muttering doom, the rug was a factory oriental and the pattern called tree of life.   My mother explained as we plucked a chicken tree of life: I was enthralled and Hannah my grandmother hummed for me the phrase from liturgy: Eytz khayim hee l’makhazikim bo v’kol nitee-voteh-ho shalom: for she is a tree of life to all who hold her…

Read more