Poems & Essays

21 Sep

What Boys Do

General/Column No Response

My son turns eight.
Five friends sleep over.

The evening is a long streak
of sleek bodies and noise,

trains at rush hour,
Doppler and dangerous

for bystanders too close.
This is what boys do,

I have been warned.
All elbows and motion,

collusion and collision.
Still years from the first

scratch of the blade or
deepening of a vowel,

my son brandishes
his ticket to Manhood. Shoving

with newfound ferocity
into the unruly line,

he leaps on board a one-way ride
with no brakes,

no one steering,
all their arms waving

wildly from the windows
as they fly past me.

 

Lauren Cerruto loves the taste of words, especially when they are well prepared. She has a BA in English from the University of Virginia, where she studied poetry with Greg Orr, Deborah Nystrom, and Rita Dove. Her poems have appeared in Margie: The American Journal of Poetry, The Journal of NJ Poets, The Paterson Literary Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Cliterature, Poets Online, and in a final exam at West Point Military Academy. She is currently working on a poetry chapbook and a novel.

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21 Sep

To Matthew, Who Wants to Know How to Write His Name

General/Column No Response

I have given you the alphabet
its geometry of angles and curves
its music and mouth feel
and now you want to string it
like the painted macaroni you necklace for me.
You want to set the letters in motion,
to see yourself take shape.
So again I give you your name,
the one I whispered when you arrived
brick and bruised from your passage.
You copy it in red crayon and wobbling hand,
scratch it on the driveway with chalk,
recite the letters from your car seat,
engraving them in the air with your fingertip.
Other words will come in time,
from abacus to maelstrom, melodious
to zygote. I hope you pluck and savor
each one like a peach fresh from the branch.
Soon, I will teach you the carpentry,
how words hammered together hang
like doorways–how reading is an exit
and writing, a welcome mat.

 

Lauren Cerruto loves the taste of words, especially when they are well prepared. She has a BA in English from the University of Virginia, where she studied poetry with Greg Orr, Deborah Nystrom, and Rita Dove. Her poems have appeared in Margie: The American Journal of Poetry, The Journal of NJ Poets, The Paterson Literary Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Cliterature, Poets Online, and in a final exam at West Point Military Academy. She is currently working on a poetry chapbook and a novel.

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21 Sep

Mountain Lullaby

General/Column No Response

I am your mother
yanking you from pain

pushing your world into safe shapes
keeping Truth buried in a pine chest

letting you dream of frontiers beyond this house
of trails that are safe

unlike the stuffed toy in your keeping
ripped every day from your loving.

You do not catch it as it falls.
You are the one who drops it.

 

Clara B. Jones is a retired scientist and mother of three grown children, currently practicing poetry in Asheville, NC. As a woman of color, she writes about social relations and the moral dimensions of power. Erbacce, CHEST, Ofi Literary Magazine, Transnational, and 34th Parallel are among the venues her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in, and she is the author of the weblog, Ferguson and Other Poems About Race: A Chapbook (2015). In the 1970s, Clara studied with Adrienne Rich and now studies with the poets Meghan Sterling and Eric Steineger.

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21 Sep

Pause

General/Column No Response

She looks into the mirror
as she dresses for her first day
of college, unsure of the beauty
emerging in the curves
of her face, and so full of hope.

I want to take her face
in a hold that is gentle yet firm,
and tell her to keep faith, that
there is a life like she imagines,
with someone who will see her,
who will feel her,
who will know her.

I want to hold her with a fierceness
that would scare her, and tell her
to mother the babies, not the men,

and to warn her that not all
who have vision will use it
with the best intentions.

I want to make a salve
that lets her know her worth
and rub it into every pore,
into her very soul.

She draws a breath, sets
her shoulders, and for the first time
I see the grace in her arms
as in wings poised for flight.

 

Sharyl Collin started writing poetry about four years ago. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including Mason’s Road Literary Journal, Wild Goose Poetry Review, *82 Review, The Intentional and Lummox.

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