Poems & Essays

17 Jun

Empty Nester

Taking Flight No Response

How do you ask your sons to come home—
when they no longer need you to rock

them to sleep. Come home to a place
that doesn’t exist with their rooms

long abandoned of childish things.
Yet you are the mother, the maker

of princes, your castle now emptied
of gold swords and crowns. Will they be

nobler than what you’d imagined, will they
slay monsters and three-legged beasts

and name you in speeches with fairytale endings
for all that you taught them or all that you didn’t.

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas lives in the Sierra Foothills. She studied at Santa Clara University where she was an English major. She is an nine-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a seven-time Best of the Net nominee and the author of the following collections of poetry: “Epistemology of an Odd Girl,” March Street Press, “Hasty Notes in No Particular Order,” “Letters Under the Banyan Tree” and “The Wanderer’s Dominion,” Aldrich Press, “Breakfast in Winter,” Flutter Press, along with several chapbooks, “Litany of Finger Prayers,” Pudding House Press, “Object of Desire,” Finishing Line Press, “A Thousand Tiny Sorrows,” March Street Press, “The Butterfly Room,” Big Table Books, “The Nightly Suicides,” Kattywompus Press, “Things I Can’t Remember to Forget,” Prolific Press, and the winning chapbook in The Red Ochre Chapbook Contest, “Before I Go to Sleep,” along with her latest collections slated for publication this year with Main Street Rag, “An Ode to Hope in the Midst of Pandemonium” and “ In the Making of Goodbyes,” Clare Songbird Press. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of online, print magazines and anthologies, including: The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Poets and Artists, War, Literature and the Arts. She is the Assistant Editor for The Orchards Poetry Journal and a member of the Sacramento group of poets called Writers on Air. According to family lore she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson. www.clgrellaspoetry.com

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17 Jun

Dots and Boxes

Toddlers to Teens No Response

You ask me to explain
What was before this        what after

but all I have
the chiming proof of wind

bronze bells at our window
ring for no one
make no sound unless touched

we play a game of dots and boxes
I scaffold points for you
we climb carefully each rung

this page between us
head to head
we have been framed

where we touch we press a ringing to the nerve
a hypotenuse cut
through the longest side of night

Kathleen Mitchell-Askar holds degrees from UCLA and California State University, Northridge. Her work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, DIAGRAM, Mom Egg Review, Right Hand Pointing, Rust+Moth, San Pedro River Review, SWWIM Everyday, and Whale Road Review. She lives, works, and writes in Sacramento.

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17 Jun

Orbit

Babyhood No Response

baby wakes at midnight
pulls down threads of milk

across the valley floor
a train’s grate against tracks

the scrape of passing planets

 

Kathleen Mitchell-Askar holds degrees from UCLA and California State University, Northridge. Her work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, DIAGRAM, Mom Egg Review, Right Hand Pointing, Rust+Moth, San Pedro River Review, SWWIM Everyday, and Whale Road Review. She lives, works, and writes in Sacramento.

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17 Jun

Hands, Hearts, Lungs

Toddlers to Teens No Response

Hands

Wrist bone against wrist bone we press
palms together slowly, my daughter
and I, measuring which hand is longer:

Mine, only just, and not for much longer.
Bolts jolt through as this tender press
of skin to skin makes me see that my daughter’s

hands are mine, twenty years before I had a daughter.
The fingers – eloquent, smooth, longer
than average — designed to delight and impress.

Mine, now elegant no longer, but sturdy and strong for this press of my daughter’s.  

——————————————–

An early afternoon I lay, listening to my mother’s
heart, small head on chest as her blood
pulsed through, slowing into sleep.

My breath matched hers: ‘Shh. Sleep’
she commanded, though my mother
drifted before me, and I followed her blood

lines as meditation. My own blood
drummed a faster rhythm, as before sleep
I dreamt of myself as some-day mother.

Now, head on pillow-as-chest, my finger seeks again those bloodlines
of my mother.

—————————————————

Just like her grandmother they say,
she laughs. Airs of me
circumvented by airs of her.

Looking at the breath rising in her,
I laugh. It’s true what they say,
she is more her grandmother than me.

But deep in my daughter, a trace of me
sleeps expectantly within her
belly. Just you wait, I say.

Someday, there may be one of whom they say she is more me than her mother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Morash a playwright, poet, and academic originally from Nova Scotia, but now located in Kent, UK. Her work has been featured in Literary Mama, Live Canon’s (More) New Poems for Christmas, Understorey Magazine, Bare Fiction, Live Canon’s 2018 Anthology (shortlisted for their International Poetry Award), and the Sentinel Literary Journal (first prize in their quarterly journal), amongst others. Karen’s plays have run in the London fringe and festivals, and she currently teaches at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.

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