Poems & Essays

24 Feb

A Working Mother’s Distress

Toddlers to Teens No Response

I bend down to kiss her rose petal cheeks
before I pick up my handbag and laptop on my way to work,
thinking,
today her smiles
will sun someone else’s day.

Someone else will dry her tears
when she falls from her tricycle
and cheer her on
when she adds 5 and 4,
which she couldn’t do before.

At night
when I come in,
I will see her being read to
in someone else’s lap.
I will drift to the bathroom to shower,
and then to her bedroom
to give her a good night kiss
before I have my dinner and go to bed.

And I wonder
how is she mine or I hers?

Meenakshi Palaniappan is a quiet observer of her children’s lives and the lessons they teach her. A teacher by profession, she enjoys playing with words to paint pictures of life with kids. 

Read More

24 Feb

Now I Let You Go

Taking Flight No Response

As if the umbilical chord
is snipped again and again—
weeping in an echoing 
stairwell at Logan Airport 
after he disappears
into the shadows 
of the security line,
or embracing her
at the gate, her peeling 
apart and moving 
toward the hatched 
opening—is it always
through a dark tunnel
that we enter a new world,
and how many times 
must I say goodbye.

Sarah Dickenson Snyder has written poetry since she knew there was a form of writing with conscious linebreaks. She has three poetry collections: The Human Contract (2017), Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera (2019). Recently, poems have appeared in Artemis, The Sewanee Review, and RHINO.

Read More

24 Feb

A Stomach to Sleep On

Toddlers to Teens No Response

My boy comes home hungry
from a full day at a friend’s house
where he forgot to eat

I am making eggplant moussaka,
my Armenian mother-in-law’s recipe.
I have sliced the eggplant into thin pieces
salted the circles and let them stand
patted each one dry before frying them
The chopped meat still thaws on the counter

When he comes home
unexpectedly hungry
there is nothing to eat
He doesn’t like it when vegetables,
sauce, and meat touch

I scramble. Form the chopped meat
into a patty. Place it in a sizzling pan
flip it, put a hunk of cheese on top
slide it onto a panini
next to carrots and apples
followed by a mini watermelon 
cut in half like a bowl 
so he can eat it with a spoon
the way he likes. Nothing special

Now there isn’t enough meat for the moussaka
the cooked eggplant sits on the counter
my mother-in-law’s dark eyes fade
and my family’s next warm meal
remains in pieces

But I don’t care because I hear 
my twelve-year-old son 
strut out of the kitchen and say,
Ah, this is a good stomach to sleep on

Ana María Carbonell is a writer currently living in Berkeley, CA. Her work is forthcoming in Loch Raven Review and at the Popular Culture/American Culture Associations Conference. It has also appeared in MELUS (Multicultural Literatures of the U.S.) and was presented at Missoula’s Minority Literatures Conference. Ana María enjoys writing about cultural identity and relationships. Some of her favorite poets include Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver, and Yusef Komunyakaa. When not writing, Ana María enjoys hiking, watching films, and dancing to live music, especially under an open sky.

Read More

24 Feb

After the Children

Taking Flight No Response

It’s really much easier now—
all you have to do is stay steady, you said

as we rode on a chairlift made for four
above basalt mountain peaks 

jutting through untouched snow 
reaching for the highest alpine air

You’re right, I said. Falling would be the end
and what’s the point of tipping? The ride is easy 

after all, it isn’t even cold. There’s clean snow 
below and I’ve never breathed such air

But it takes work to hold still. Like a tree pose.
I leaned forward, wondered 

if I could touch those shiny black peaks 
pointing at me like arrowheads

I then tipped back, my legs sliding under
the pull bar. Any more, I’d leave our chair

so easy to slip and drop on unbroken snow crust 
formed by the heat of the afternoon sun 

Ana María Carbonell is a writer currently living in Berkeley, CA. Her work is forthcoming in Loch Raven Review and at the Popular Culture/American Culture Associations Conference. It has also appeared in MELUS (Multicultural Literatures of the U.S.) and was presented at Missoula’s Minority Literatures Conference. Ana María enjoys writing about cultural identity and relationships. Some of her favorite poets include Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver, and Yusef Komunyakaa. When not writing, Ana María enjoys hiking, watching films, and dancing to live music, especially under an open sky.

Read More