Category Archives: Vol7-Issue2-Poetry

Victoria Melekian

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Some Call it Treasure

Junk toys my grandparents called them,
three bags, one for each boy, filled with stuff

my kids loved: stickers, red caps popped off
whipped cream cans, magnets, corks, rubbery

spiders and lizards, random board game tokens
all dumped across the floor, plastic that poked

bare feet, clogged the vacuum cleaner, spread
through my house. I wonder who had more fun—

little boys sorting through treasure or my grandparents
on the hunt for it all, strolling through Leisure World

looking for bits of sparkle the gardener’s broom missed,
stooping to grab a marble or tiny pencil,

crossing a parking lot and spotting a stray
Happy Meal toy, amassing piles of plastic surprises.

When Grandpa died, my sons gave
their great grandmother a box of dinosaurs,

striped dragons, and an orange frog—
a zoo of creatures to keep her company.

Editor’s Note: The playful sounds of this poem and the short phrases deftly portray children’s joy. The pace slows down when the grandparents enter the poem to indicate the mood change. The ending is touching.

Victoria Melekian lives in Carlsbad, California. Her stories and poems have been published in Mudfish, Literary Orphans, Atlanta Review, Valparaiso Fiction Review, Word Riot, and other anthologies. She’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was a runner-up in the 2018 Bath Flash Fiction Novella-in-Flash Award. Her story “What I Don’t Tell Him” aired on NPR. She’s twice won a San Diego Book Award.

Raye Hendrix

Image by Raye Hendrix.

For Ruth, After The Wildfires

for Ruth Bader Ginsburg / after Frank O’Hara

Tonight at the drug store I buy
as many condoms and emergency
contraceptives as I can carry,
and a candy bar from the stand at the front,
because isn’t all this sadness deserving
of something sweet?

Ruth, Ruth, Ruth: On the walk home
I whisper your name like a prayer,
smoke still hanging heavy
in the dampening evening air,
the rain announcing itself too little,
too late.

Two towns away the next two towns
have already disappeared to cinder—
the boot print of a careless god
stamped into the fir.

Ruth, Ruth: What are we going to do
without you? The air is still
too thick with ash to breathe.

Editor’s Note:  This poem effectively portrays the cognitive dissonance resulting from the dual tragedies. The desperation caused by the wildfires on the US West coast during last summer (and many summers before that) and the indifference of nature is shown theough a few short stanzas.

Raye Hendrix is a writer from Alabama. Her debut micro-chapbook, Fire Sermons, is forthcoming this Summer from Ghost City Press. Raye is the winner of the 2019 Keene Prize for Literature and Southern Indiana Review’s 2018 Patricia Aakhus Award. Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and in 32 PoemsShenandoahCimarron ReviewPoetry NorthwestZone 3, and elsewhere. Raye is a PhD student at the University of Oregon studying Deafness, Disability, and Poetry.

Kathleen Goldblatt


She was making her way home—

she knew the road well yet
nothing was the same: the doctor had said there was
nothing he could do for that baby in her arms
so she turned around—

how much farther, her arms heavy now
how much farther, and no one could talk
when she arrived except a little girl
who played with the holy cards, who said,
that baby only smiles now.

Women wept and men did what men did
in the times when geese were fed in the yard.
Even after she was home, she kept walking
home with arms she could no longer feel
and heavy feet that shuffled.

When a baby flies past me—like lightning—
then disappears in the wind,
I remember her
and know that for a hundred years
weeping women don’t stop.

It’s then that I think she must still be walking,
singing her baby a lullaby, then another,
shushing her so that she may leave us all
to quiet—

Editor’s Note:
Everlasting grief and mother’s love lead to ultimate strength for the woman-kind and the world around her. I loved the tender tone of this poem that gently crawls into your heart.
Kathleen Goldblatt is a writer and Jungian analyst. She has been an advocate for social reform, most notably for the mentally ill. Kathleen is a training analyst with the CG Jung Institute of New England and the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts. She grew up in western New York State and resides in Newport, Rhode Island.

John Smith

Photo by Flora Westbrook from Pexels

Margaret’s Garden Hands

Margaret’s garden hands are dark,
mud-caked, bordered by lighter,
dried dirt, the pit of her palms
peeking through. They look like
blotchy prints of brown paint
a child pressed on a paper plate
or relief maps, the topography
of a life lived as close to earth
as a life can get this side of it.
But my sister’s hands aren’t prints
or raised maps. They’re cultivators,
as were our father’s, small
but strong and no strangers
to bare fistfuls of soil or fingernails
cracked and grouted; in fact,
first-hand familiar with the grip
and rip of weeds uprooted,
a clingy ball of earth, the weighty
shaking loose, and stubborn worms
that won’t let go, even with
part of them writhing on the
ground beneath. Years ago,
among unripe tomato plants
and the warm, licorice scent
of basil, sweet as memory itself,
Margaret’s hands were first
to touch our father lying
on his back in the garden,
life outgrown him. See how she
washes them now, one toughened
hand at a time, with the green
garden hose in the other.


Editor’s Note:
A simple action of washing muddy hands turns into a tender trip down the memory lane for the narrator and illustrates the continuity of life is and organic nature of life. The assonance and consonance keep the lines moving smoothly.
John Smith’s poetry has appeared in journals such as SmartishPace, Berfrois Journal, The Literary Review, and Spillway. His work has been set to music by composer, Tina Davidson, and commissioned by New Jersey AudubonHis book of poetry is titled Even That Indigo. John lives in Frenchtown, NJ with his wife, the calligrapher and henna artist, Catherine Lent.