Day 10

by Mandy Berry

I wonder:
Why do I bother
trying to capture my thoughts
every day?
They’ll only plague me
and single moments don’t matter
in the fickle winds
of the working poor.

I found a band on Deezer today,
a kiddie rock band,
one that I haven’t heard in years.
Every lyric’s been in my head
for a decade now,
remnants of when
I only had to think
a few hours ahead.
I spent five hours

Now I’m in the kitchen, writing.
Mom says, “The shower is ready
when you are.”
Dad shouts, “Joan!
You messed up my unemployment application!”
“No I didn’t, Donald.”
“Yes you did!”
Mom leaves.

I wish I didn’t have to worry
about money,
or beg my parents for a job,
or hear how retirement is impossible

I want a break from my thoughts.

I want to listen to my kid music again.


Elegy: To a Doll1  
by S.A. Bowden

Alas, poor Julie— I knew her.
A doll and devoted playmate, companion to my doll Felicity
A thousand times we carried them in our arms, pored over catalogs picking outfits and props, read their books, traded clothes and accessories with our cousin and her doll, tucked them in bed beside us
Moments scattered through my memories
But now Julie is here in my room with her wardrobe and boxes of her things
Because her owner no longer wanted her
How oft did we dress Felicity and you, Julie, and pose you for photo shoots?
Where be your voice? your mobility? our total confidence that you were alive?
Not one now to take you to the American Girl store?
Not one now to attend doll camp in our room or sit at a laundry bin in our pretend school?
You seem so hollow now
Alas, poor Julie, I know hollowness
I decide to put Julie’s things on the third floor, out of my room
But I open the wardrobe and something weakens my resolve
How oft did Emily and I play together, with or without our dolls,
How oft did we read stories and sleep in each other’s rooms?
Where be our matching outfits? our photos of us posing together? our realms of imagination?
Not one now to watch the puppet shows and recitals we used to put on?
Now I sort the shoes from the clothes from the accessories, taking back some things that were once Felicity’s
Feeling like a violator
Messing up the way she organized everything
A shrine— to what?  A doll?  Our childhood?  The sisters we were?  My inner desires?
But it doesn’t matter now, does it?
A wardrobe is not an abstraction
Besides, I don’t think we are what we used to be.
Alas, Julie; alas, Felicity; does any of it matter anymore?
The bond we used to have, the people and dolls we used to be,
Do they mean anything if we are no longer them?
I knew us

The stupid toilet is backed up again.

1A few weeks ago my sister told me she no longer wanted her doll Julie, but Mom wouldn’t let her give Julie away.  My sister asked if she could leave Julie’s things in my room.  This poem is for them both.


A Study of the Spine and the Spineless
by Rachel Pontious

Contrary to general scientific consensus–
A human can function without a spine.
Their quality of life
May even be fulfilling.

They may, for example,
Acquire good grades.
Have many friends,
Play sports,
Get married,
Have children.

There are, however,
Some risks
One should be aware of.
When put into a social situation,
Do not expect the spineless patient
To behave like
Their peers.

Their body language
May seem peculiar.
Their words
May take some getting used to.
It is common for a spineless patient’s pulse
To quicken
If eyes are narrowed in their direction
Or if a frown
Is in view.

The following are common phrases
Spoken by spineless patients.
“I’m fine”
“Never mind”
“I’m sorry”
“It was nothing.”
And they will readily agree
To whatever you suggest.

They may later be spotted
Leaving the situation
Grumbling about
Their lack of spine.

It is important
To take adequate care
Of a spineless patient.
Sometimes, you must differentiate
Between what they say
And how they really feel.

Thanks to advances
In spinal health care,
The spineless condition
Is not permanent.
A strong dose of anger
Will sometimes help the patient
To jumpstart the process
To rehabilitation.

You must beware
Of the side effects
Which may cause the patient’s self esteem
To drop further below standard,
Or trigger an intense depression,
Without altogether helping
To heal the condition

Remember always,
Most of the work
Is on behalf
Of the spineless patient,
And mostly depends
On the will of stated patient
To recover.


Poetry was…
by Mya Smith

Poetry was a piece of art that is never finished.

Poetry was like a blooming flower that no one sees.

Poetry was about life, but also about death.

Poetry was as important as a baby’s first words.

Poetry was as pointless as a grain of sand.

Poetry meant that people still believe.

Poetry still is my life in writing.


by Sam Yoseph
A situation based on trust,
And kind eyes filled with rush.
Take three steps forward
And dance.

We tip-toe around each other.
We grasp a stranger’s
Hands, hip, and shoulder,
And spin.

Eyes meet, breaths taken.
We move to a certain rhythm,
Feet bracing the ground
And dip.

Taking flight, we build a tower
Ten feet high and walk.
Take three steps back
And bow.

My name is not for you to know,
and nor is yours mine,
But we whisper a promise to meet again
And part.

We don’t meet again.



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