Poems & Essays

29 Jun

Wind Chime

Taking Flight 2 Responses

Yesterday we hung the wind chime 
we got as a wedding present–
Pachelbel’s Cannon in D trapped 

inside a cardboard box 
For decades it stared at me 
from the top shelf of my garage,

pleading
I looked away,
the bigger problem too messy,

impossible to unravel
Our lives had gotten too busy for

wind chimes–
listening to them
or stringing them up

Someday had been pushed back 
another decade

Plastic sleds and crusty gallons of paint 
nestled against the white box 
with faded lettering
welcoming it to the family 
of long-forgottens

But then one day
my son, years beyond
the thrill of a hammer and a nail
found a large swath of time in 
quarantine

He dug out the blue bin
full of wood scraps 
and inside discovered an old door-jamb
perfect for making the limb 
of a cross bow

As he slid the bin of wood off the shelf
he spotted a box,
opened it to reveal glittering pipes

Mom, look!
Who knew we were a family 
with a wind chime?

With a single motion
I freed the tangle of strings,
the clapper unleashing its song

My husband screwed a hook 
into the soffit above our porch
and we hung our wedding chimes.
It took us only five minutes 
and twenty-two years

Lisa Reisig Ferrazzano, Ph.D., is a linguist, Italian instructor, and writer. Her work has appeared in MAW, Literary Mama, Motherwell, Her View from Home, and the Cap Times. 

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29 Jun

Postpartum Mohawk

Babyhood No Response

I was afraid to love my daughter
until one night in May
the air was warm the windows
open – 
playing in the tub I had
smoothed her silky hair full of suds
into a mohawk which curled and cued and
flopped at the tips
like dorsal fins should never
and saw the shape of her head not perfectly
round but more potato
the grin on her cheeks
lopsided unknowing
of how fast the world turns frightening
how memories, stuck
turn a good moment sour
and I left the slick hair
let her feel a cool head
wanted to keep the deep, dark
pockets under my eyes
and turn invisible
so that she could have more.
More of everything. 
I forgot my own face and
tenderness stopped hurting. 
I held it
flexed jaws 
gulped grief
said it out loud and it wasn’t that heavy
not any heavier than her. 

Elizabeth Bolton is a doctoral researcher at the University of Toronto where she studies poetic literacy practices. In addition to poetry she writes narrative and experimental works. Most notably, her stories and poetry have appeared in Open Minds Quarterly, Event, NoD, Wayfarer and Dark Ink Magazines, among others. 

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29 Jun

Morning

Toddlers to Teens One Response

Rain comes in stages: 
a downpour for twenty seconds,
a syncopated melody,
a sprinkling.

Windows blur 
when drops blow slant with the wind.

Flowers pop in garden beds,
dot mud, 
push aside the weeds.

After the rain, silence steeps its own special brew
that never exists in bustling coffee shops. 
It’s warm in the way the still dark
acts as a blanket, 
promising the sun will rise.

Every branch on every backyard tree 
hushes, halts swaying and creaking, knowing
the only sound allowed is birdsong.

The leaves breathe bright
and tulips splay their petals, 
opening
until they fall back upon themselves,
exhausted. 
Soon all the spring flowers
 will say their goodbyes. 

Standing at the kitchen window, 
I see the dog sniffing our fence. 
Our cat murmurs at the door, asking to go out. 
Then he sees the dog. 
My stomach grumbles,
but it and the dirty dishes of last night can wait.
I want to snuggle my sleepy-headed boy on the couch, 
Hold onto his time of being five, but he asks, as always, 
“How many more days until my birthday?” 
We consult the calendar. Twenty-three. 
He tries to wiggle a tooth,
anxious to lose one,
as his best friend already has. 

And while we see the sunlight slide
across the living room floor,
while we wonder about birthdays and teeth and fleeting moments,
a text reminds me of our cousins’ hurried trip to Vegas, 
to the view of high-rises and concrete. 

They see the sunrise as they pray 
for the tiny newborn in the NICU. 
This family who wants her waits 
to call her their own. 
They don’t yet hear her morning cries
or see her sleepy eyes at dawn.
They don’t hear the sound of her birth mother letting go
of tears that fall like rain 
in the morning’s silence.

Annie Hindman’s work has been published with The Good Mother Project and Mothers Always Write. She volunteered as a Creative Nonfiction reader and editor with The Tishman Review. A wife, mother, writer, and wisher of good will, Annie writes between the lines of her days.

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29 Jun

The Game of Life

Taking Flight No Response

We were in the middle of a game of Charades
on the same team, standing side by side, acting out two people riding in a bus on a bumpy road, up, down, up, down, and then I felt her body falling, to her knees, then the floor,
silently and softly onto the carpet
no noise or exclamation because those are the rules of that game

You never know what letters you will get
we all know that’s part of the challenge
nobody expected M-O-M and A-L-S
to show up like the Scrabble tile shuffle from hell

Can someone just be bluffing please and say remove your sunglasses that was just a practice round,
here is a new hand, a new deal

My kids keep asking me to play with them
name the game they say
they crave the laughter, the competition, the connection with popcorn and sparkly water and chocolate

Grief tells me to ask them to leave me alone
I cannot play with you now
My heart is in more pieces than your puzzle there and has forgotten any next moves

But a voice I vaguely recognize tells me what to do
pick up the dice, make the snacks, pass those pigs, “uno!” who needs bricks? wheat? sheep?
And, wait, I think I own that railroad

Same voice reminds that the ticking of the timer doesn’t go on forever sooner or later there’s an empty half of an hourglass or an obnoxious buzz announcing the end of a turn
the last round has been played and before you know it, time is up

deal me in and hold onto your hats, little ones,
‘cuz (blowing on dice) “momma needs a new pair of shoes”

Kimberly Braunschneider is a SAHM of five kids ages 6-16. Reading, writing, walking, and being outside with her family give her energy to get through each day.

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