Poems & Essays

23 Nov

When I Go Off The Deep End

Toddlers to Teens No Response

                      –With apologies to my children

I forget who I am.
Not silk or glow like the skin
I was born into. 

Not evening song
swishing over sleepy bodies.
They’re too old 

to remember cradle sway, 
my hands sea breeze 
wafting them into reverie,

too young to understand how
memories can splinter under
the crack of unmeasured words.

Not human but sea holly, I crave 
the hush and breadth of sand dunes 
but they storm into the room 

I am tidying, tossing toys 
far and wide. Their laughter catches 
on my thorns, falls in flakes at my feet.

Not human but stargazer, an uglier
version of my blue groper nature.
There are times they bury me 

up to my face in complaints 
and my scream leaps at them,
shocking them into compliance.

There are times I am rock, deaf
to their demands, tumbling over
the cliff of my sanity. They climb

and climb, seeking the peak of my love. 
Rock, engulfed in a rising sea, holding
their hands as I count to three.

Julie Weiss’s debut chapbook, The Places We Empty, will be published by Kelsay Books in July 2021. In 2020, she was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly’s first line poetry contest series and for The Magnolia Review’s Ink Award. In 2019 she was a Best of the Net Nominee. Recent work appears in Better Than Starbucks, Praxis Magazine, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others, and she has poems in many anthologies, as well. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children. You can find her on Twitter @colourofpoetry or on her website at https://julieweiss2001.wordpress.com/.

Read More

23 Nov

When You Were Nine Weeks Old

Toddlers to Teens No Response

Early autumn, we emerge
from our shared sleep haze,

drive Ohio backroads
to the orchard for Galas,

delicata, dough doused
in sugar so thick it sticks

to our teeth. We pick apples,
palm-sized and sun-warmed,

wandering the rows until
all we see is September sky,

a choir of trees, and each
other: a specific universe,

both familiar and new,
briefly ours alone.

Emily Patterson is a writer and editor in Columbus, Ohio. She holds a BA in English from Ohio Wesleyan University, where she was awarded the Marie Drennan Prize for Poetry, and an MA in Education from Ohio State University. Her work has been published in Spry Literary Journal, Better Than Starbucks, catheXis Northwest Press, The Pinkley Press, Apeiron Review, and elsewhere.

Read More

23 Nov

Chronicle of a Repentant Mother

Toddlers to Teens No Response

                              –For Gabriel

You call me into the playroom
where you’ve stacked blocks
on the floor, words tumbling off

your tongue as you try to explain
the grandeur of the castle you built.
Nice I say and turn back 

to the jumble of images abandoned 
on my desk. I was describing the day 
we climbed a real castle to the top. 

Rocks crumbled under your feet, 
the descent into the valley below 
steep enough to snatch the breath 

from a dream dropped over a wall. 
Fear cracked in my chest 
every time you neared the edge

and I played the imperious queen 
to your unruly subject, my arms 
locked, unforgiving as iron.

There were no poems towering
between us, no silences you needed
to scale in order to reach me,

only mother and son, entwined 
under the sky´s shimmering kingdom.
Now, I grapple with intangibles, 

how to stack word after word 
of love on a piece of paper too 
flimsy to withstand the weight

when you emerge, translucent, 
a phantom haunting the halls 
of my mind. Mommy, come see

what I built, you say, face 
flickering, a slip of a voice
falling, falling into a hollow.

Julie Weiss’s debut chapbook, The Places We Empty, will be published by Kelsay Books in July 2021. In 2020, she was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly´s first line poetry contest series and for The Magnolia Review´s Ink Award. In 2019 she was a Best of the Net Nominee. Recent work appears in Better Than Starbucks, Praxis Magazine, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others, and she has poems in many anthologies, as well. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children. You can find her on Twitter @colourofpoetry or on her website at https://julieweiss2001.wordpress.com/.

Read More

23 Nov

1.5 – 11/2019

Babyhood No Response

I am grateful for you, my littlest love–
for your arresting smile with its row of baby teeth–
those newly budded pearls,
the sweet orange blossom soap smell in your wispy curls,
the nape of your neck, your tiny earlobes, 
your infectious laughter like a rolling wave, 
again and again, 
your soft hand that grazes my chest while you nurse, that finds my 
hand and interlocks fingers, as if to say, “stay close,” 
your sweet “muah” kisses on my cheek with your puckered baby lips. 
your hi’s and bye’s and corresponding gestures, 
your mini voice speaking two-syllable words 
with stress at the end for “mom-MY,” “dad-DY,”
an unlimited vocabulary–
with more sounds acquired 
every day.

I am grateful for you, my littlest love–
for your persistent personality, for your toddler attitude,
for your sweet and sour, for the reckless way you play,
with wild abandon, with a heart so full, with a love so big, 
for your obsession with the same nursery rhyme 
again and again, 
the wheels going round and round and round and round, 
for your silliness, for soaking up song and dance, 
for glances in the rearview mirror, for a car littered with crackers 
and a seat–sticky and stained,
for the endless repetition, 
for the cycle–
nap, bath, bed, repeat. 

Morgan Dancy is a full-time working mom who teaches English at a local university. Her husband, 2.5 year old son, and she loves nature walks, playing outside, exploring, and riding bikes. They have a dog, kitten, and three backyard chickens.

Read More