Poems & Essays

05 Feb

Who Will You Be?

General/Column No Response

My bump is barely showing
and I’m already wondering:

Will you have my forehead
and your father’s round face?

Will you have his pretty good teeth
or my train wreck of a mouth?

Will you have my dark brown curls
and the thickness of his hair?

Will his passion explode out of you
or bubble up in thick waves like mine?

Will you have my wild, unbridled laugh
and the crinkles in his eyes when he smiles?

Will you see the crisp outlines of objects
or my blurry shapes and colors instead?

Will your skin glow with my barely tan skin
but let the sun bring out his brown?

Will you let the little things go
or never let me forget anything?

Even though I carry you inside
and I know that half of you is me

How will my genes come alive,
shine from your body and soul?

Will I see your dad on a smaller scale
or a reflection of myself?

Or will I see you as you are:
As your own being with bits of us both?

For now, my belly will continue to grow
your past and potential present existing

simultaneously, a Schroedinger’s baby
rising from within, hiding in plain sight.

 

 

Eloísa Pérez-Lozano graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in psychology and an M.S. in journalism and mass communications. Two of her poems were finalists in the 2017 Friendswood Public Library Ekphrastic Poetry contest. A 2016 Sundress Publications Best of the Net nominee, her work has been featured in “The Texas Observer,” “Houston Chronicle,” and “The Acentos Review,” among others. She lives with her family in Houston, Texas.

Read More

05 Feb

Migration

General/Column No Response

of dark air—the starlings   under thunderheads   tumbling as one

the flock chasing storms—this dark is not a doom     this dark is a comfort a flock follows

flying south for the winter     suppose enough milk to last one thousand years,   is a night with no light—

what else is a womb but a room       the newborn, once home

 

 

Lauren K Carlson is a poet and writer, mother and wife living in rural Dawson, Minnesota with her husband and three sons. Her work can be found in, or is forthcoming from Tinder Box, The Windhover, Heron Tree, and Blue Heron Review among others. She produced a series for the web, called “Poems from the Field,” in 2016 with Pioneer Public Television. More at www.laurenkcarlson.com

Read More

05 Feb

Constellation with Mother and Child

General/Column No Response

Bright child, bed-headed and tangled
clean cotton-scented, your cry was a call.

I was swinging the garbage over my shoulder,
intent on distributing my burdens and broken cups

with one swift heft into the hollow blue
hopper, empty from yesterday’s pick up—

but bright child, your cry was a song.
Mama stop! The cups, but the cups!

And I lay down that kitchen trash-bag,
for shattered dishes were littered about

the driveway though a snag in the hefty bottom.
O abundant refuse from life’s disasters.

This morning, my child—how you tumbled.
Your head blazing the trail, your feet

where your face should of been,
cup and saucer flying, while cocoa

stormed its way across white linen
and so many glittering pieces of wedding-china,

a constellation of accident, predicted the
fault in our love. To forget, I throw it out.

But bright child, your cry
is my sign.

Mama, they glitter in gravel. The pieces
like stars, will you chart them?

 

 

 

Lauren K Carlson is a poet and writer, mother and wife living in rural Dawson, Minnesota with her husband and three sons. Her work can be found in, or is forthcoming from Tinder Box, The Windhover, Heron Tree, and Blue Heron Review among others. She produced a series for the web, called “Poems from the Field,” in 2016 with Pioneer Public Television. More at www.laurenkcarlson.com

Read More

05 Feb

Another Snow Day at Home with the Boys

General/Column One Response

Two days after the snowstorm
the air is brittle to the touch.
I’m free to go out
but it would be madness in this wind.
And so
I pray for the power to stay
to be steadfast.

Running away
was always my first response
when things went awry.
Parents arguing in the kitchen?
Run upstairs!
A pillow over my head in the bedroom
Hurtful friends?
Not-so-accidentally lose touch
Boyfriends starting to disgust me?
Move on.
Move away.
Throw it away and get a new one.
Why bother repairing something broken
when it’s so easy to start afresh?

Moving through life like a cyclone
pulling up things by the roots as needed,
casting them aside willy-nilly as I went along,
scarcely looking back.
Round and round and round she goes
and where she stops, nobody knows!
Until I heard Eva Cassidy sing
“If you love all men
you’ll surely be left with none.”
And one day the storm settled.

I met him and laid it all down.
He was coming out of a similar storm
and did the same for me,

only he’d been at it longer.
Of course,
no question,
we both promised to stay no matter what.
All was still.
All was quiet.
The snow settled.
The boys came along.

And now I stop
and look
at the things I am left with:
the door that never never shuts all the way,
this drain that tends to clog
that chip in the floor…
and what was paradise
seven years ago
is beginning to erode.
The old pattern calls
run! run away!
start over! start afresh!
But now I whirl around and face it.
I’ll stare you down, old devil.
This is between me and you.
Leave them out of it.
Because I know
if I follow you out that door
you’ll only start up again with me
someplace else,
leaving total devastation in my path.
I’ll sit you out right here.

And so I begin again
unloading the dishwasher
changing a diaper
sorting the laundry
boiling water for pasta
reading another board book
fixing another snack
while you scream and scream in my head
He’s home!
Shouldn’t he be helping?
He’s still asleep!
What would another man be doing right now?

Probably running.
Maybe this is how men run away
without leaving the house.
They go to their “man-caves,”
their “home offices,”
their studios
their TV sets,
where they can’t hear the whining
the crying
the tattling
the shouting
the endless demands.
Easier to stay at work late
or submerge in work at home
oblivious to a spouse’s signals for help;
selectively hard of hearing.
I get it.
I do.
I myself prefer a day at work
to a snow day
spent entertaining two stir-crazy kids.
But I stay.
For them.
For him
and for the promise I made to him.

So I do an about-face
scatter that pattern to the wind
over my shoulder,
drink in the deliciousness of what’s here:
an afternoon nap with a two-year-old nuzzled in my neck,
the contagious excitement of hide-and-seek,
the wonder of sherbet made from juice and snow.
All my boys like it.
Even my grown-up one.
To set it before him gently
so the spoon doesn’t clatter against the bowl
and then return with a wry smile to the dishes…
it’s not what I pictured.
Maybe I thought the 21st Century household
divided as cleanly down the middle
as the snow plow’s path,
equal work on each side
tossing gender roles to the wind.

Well, sister, reality just ain’t like that.
Guys just plain don’t pull their weight in the casa.
There’s no escaping biology.
Yeah, I’ve seen the pictures in National Geographic
of Norwegian stay-at-home dads
vacuuming the floor with a baby strapped to their backs
while Mama’s at work,
but don’t tell me the little rugrats want anything but Mama
when she’s home.
Sign.
They just want Mama, he shrugs,
bringing them into my bed.

So will this whole thing blow over
when they start school
and grow out of being mama’s boys?
And how old will they be
when the thought of those still, snow-bound afternoons
will send them running
to friends’, girlfriends’ houses, sports, clubs, anything
but stay here.

I challenge all of us
to wait out this New England winter day
here.
In this house.
Together.

 

 

 

Anna Sobel is a jack-of-all trades arts-related. She has two young children and hails from Western Massachusetts.

Read More