Poems & Essays

21 Oct


Toddlers to Teens No Response

She screams and I
curl up a little more, a little tighter
hiding from the tantrums building
outside. The older one starts yelling
and I am in my shell
I can’t hear a thing.

Inside me is a thin, glamorous woman
dying to get out
to go to parties with other glamorous adults
talk about beautiful things. 

It’s bedtime and she’s not asleep
the screaming follows me around the house
my husband glares at me and snarls
can’t you do something? I
feel myself growing round and smooth
pearling around the pit in my stomach.

Inside me is a rational woman
dying to go do rational things.
This angry, unkempt thing digging holes in her palms
is not me. 

Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Plainsongs, The Long Islander, and The Nashwaak Review. Her newest poetry collections are In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (Cyberwit.net), Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), and Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing).

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21 Oct

Yellow Waking Mother

Toddlers to Teens No Response

Yellow is
a high-minded mood
the extravagance of sunlight
to be touched–
not long
by the colors of play

It is of hair
tendering golden sun
brown pennies for lemonade
for a child of seven

Yellow is
bumping into the screaming end
of a lit cigarette

Yellow is
dripping from the eaves
onto an empty soup can

It is
spindling sparrow song
from highest perch on roof 
his pitch can reach

Yellow is
in rattled doorknob
An infant’s sweet 
voice wanting – in
Reciting menu
above mattress
edges into sleep
Two dark eyes 
for yellow
Mother into morning–

“juice…. eggs”
Yellow is 
opening a car door
at the shore’s 
Smells of life
warmth and breeze
Touching strings
the kites
of  sense
above the tone
 octaves of excitement
to see to hear to touch to taste
to know 
again –

the ocean of my mother
as she calms the restless waves and sand of us
with stuff to lug out to the beach
towels, pails and shovels
Picnic basket, cooler
lotion, comic books, her magazines

Mom looks out 
her glasses, dark
reflecting beauty – 

“Take your sister’s hand.”

Yellow is the squeal
of cannot wait 

Besides appearing in several online publication, Liz Balise has had a poem published in the Mulberry Poet’s anthology, Palpable Clock, University of Scranton Press. Poems, short stories, and articles have appeared in ergo magazine of Prufrock’s Cafe during the early 1990s. More recently, her work has appeared in The Blue Nib, and she is to be the featured poet in the fall print and online editions. 

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21 Oct

Baby Girl

Babyhood No Response

Cheek sweaty against my neck
top of head under my chin
just so
heat rises from her feathery hair

Drifting to sleep
body against body
softness melting into softness
boundaries blurred

My mind tries to work
plan. Won’t
rub up against bliss
till sleep takes over

Even under the fatigue
there is a deliciousness
that body melding into mine
sticky but
my sticky

I could detach myself from her
do some chore but I
let sleep be the most pressing chore
let motherhood be

I never thought I’d be
so much a mother
but when she arrived
I didn’t fight it

It isn’t me
all of me
it is everything
and nothing at all
It just is

Awake, she toddles over to
another reaching relative
the center of everyone’s vision

I loll on the couch
let her be scooped up
let my eyes close to her
let sleep come to me alone

Till her hand pats my face again
a stern and gentle awakening
a drawing of attention
back where it belongs

I gaze at her, take the sticky hand
soft and unformed
put it to my lips
put the fingers back to her lips
teach her to kiss

She imitates and slaps her sticky hand
on my mouth

I must sit up
be awake
be a mother

She will not be this baby much longer
I might miss it for sleepiness
but never real sleep
she sees to that

Alice Knox Eaton is a professor of English at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. She has published essays at Mothers Always Write, The Chronicle of Higher Education, WriteAngles Journal, and Flash Fiction World.

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21 Oct


Toddlers to Teens No Response

for my sister

Your granddaughter
in white tights and
fairy flower-girl dress –
party shoes and bright colored
candies meant to distract her
already abandoned –
placed her little hand
slowly and softly
above the midnight dark
v-neckline of your dress
into the milky lake of your back.
Your daughter, sitting
in the pew behind you,
held her on her knees until
she tired of watching
the gentle mark dissolve
and dropped her head
with all its waves and curls
onto the pillow of a purse
to take a nap, the imprint
still there in shell-white sand
by the blue water of your heart.

Luci Huhn attended writing programs at Western Michigan University and the University of Iowa, and published a chapbook with Breakwater Press titled ‘The Years That Come After’. She recently retired as Director of Training at a Native American casino in Southwest Michigan, and has happily returned to writing poetry about nature, family, aging, and motherhood. 

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