2018 – Top Three



Aubade for LR

In squares of sun and sheened with sweat, we drift
and doze, stealing time meant for chores,
for another chance to lie in bed and kiss,
misusing the day behind this closed door.

We are no longer lovely. We are all
that time has done to us in thirty years:
scar, suture, sag, belly, breast — all
those insults that mark us as survivors.

The light is coming on. The roses you cut
yesterday are shedding their heavy petals.
Let them snow over the bed, over our battered,

beautiful bodies. We know the price of indolence,
but lie a bit longer beside me. Let the work wait,
while there are still mornings like this left to waste.

Aaron Fischer
Fort Lee, NJ


Aphasia

I like knows weed name weed little does them control makes me feel more control – a stroke victim’s post on a gardening website

When I walk Dad out to his garden now,
he stumbles saying bindweed has webbed its
way into pea and yellow beans and how
he must needs kneel to it here when it knits
its trouble with what he sowed there. We heap
tin pails with those most likely to persist:
a crabgrass, thistle, this Virginia creep.
Yet their names would taunt, twist his tongue, resist
his fisted grip to pull up sounds, weed out
those tangles in his mind, and I too grope
to know what he had left unsaid and doubt
what I want to say still within his scope.
But these pails will do well enough to show
what is unspoken in each earthen row.

Rich Glowacki
Seattle, WA


The Lady Explains

I think when Mr. Prufrock came to tea,
dressed in his best for once, he really meant
to make an offer of his heart to me,
and I suppose that was a compliment.
But marriage – it would be impossible!
Though I admit he has an opera box,
a house in town, some property in Hull,
and good investments in the funds and stocks.
But then – you’ve seen him dressed in flannels, dear?
He has such knobby knees, just like a calf!
And when the lamplight showed his baldness clear,
it really was an effort not to laugh.
I sent him off to walk beside the sea,
where mermaids might distract his mind from me.

Gail White
Breaux Bridge, LA

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