Saturday, 17 June 2017

With today's brilliant poem "The Conservation of Matter" by Meryl Natchez, Writing In A Woman's Voice goes on a week's summer solstice vacation until June 25, 2017. Happy mid-summer days to all!


The Conservation of Matter

by Meryl Natchez


                                    for J. E.

I follow the hump of the whale exhaling
as it heads for the Bering Sea. I want to see it, and see it again,

closer. Or branches in a storm, their exuberant dance
with the wind. Even rain on a New York street,

cigarette butts in the gutter, taxis splattering. I can’t get enough of it.
You say: When we die we cease to exist. Everything else

is illusion. But what about that law of physics:
the conservation of matter? How water changes to

steam or ice—mass plus energy
equal to the first wet splash.

And this hard-won companionship, smelted
in a blaze day after day—surely something endures.

Slowly, light turns the bay slate blue.
Night departs. Morning reappears.

The dead look out from their accustomed photos,
stopped in time, but not altogether silent.

The last whiff of the whale’s breath
transforms into ocean, air.



Friday, 16 June 2017

FINAL FITTING

by Judith Offer

for Toni Locke
[1917-2015]
Stand still;  I am trying to fit this poem around you,
Around your wrinkly smile and your eyes of sky,
Around your recorder waiting on the piano bench;
While you drift to the dining room,
Drawn to the afternoon sun spreading  gold
Over your geraniums and your jig saw puzzle.
If you would come back in here
And listen to what I have so far,
The way you always have,
I’m sure this poem would gather neatly around you.
But I stand here, mouth full of pins,
And you float further away,
Across your spare kitchen, out your porch door,
Over the bird feeder and the bird clothesline.
I basted the pieces of your poem yesterday,
A New England style that will be the real you,
Never blustery, nor braggadocio:
A Boismoitier duet, or a Baton,
Or maybe a folk song from your book.
But on you float, over the wormy apple that made good sauce,
Toward The Food Mill and Farmer Joe’s
And I suppose Laurel Books.
The fine fabric of your new poem
Is the one you wove yourself, Toni:
The warp, things unspoken but judiciously lived:
How you kept your body moving;
How you didn’t own things you couldn’t use;
How you tried to make sure
Everyone’s children knew the songs;
How you collected real friends,
The ones who did something for someone else.
The woof is the things you were moved to say:
How you learned to edit a newspaper,
So the people could hang together on the truth;
How you enjoyed and admired your children,
And their children and their children;
How fast and furious and funny life is,
And how impossible to control.
The poem is almost done;  one fitting won’t take long.
I know you’ll love it; you’ll wear it forever.
If you will only come back over here and stand still. 


* * * * *

Judith Offer has had two daughters, five books of poetry and dozens of plays. (Eighteen of the latter, including six musicals, have been produced.)  She has read her poetry at scores of poetry venues, but is particularly delighted to have been included in the Library of Congress series and on “All Things Considered,” on NPR.  Her writing reflects her childhood in a large Catholic family—with some Jewish roots—her experience as teacher, community organizer, musician, historian, gardener, and all-purpose volunteer, and her special fascination with her roles of wife and mother.  Her most recent book of poetry, called DOUBLE CROSSING, is poems about Oakland, California, where she lives with her husband, Stuart.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

AND THEIRS, THEM

by Judith Offer


We are the women of small histories/
            diaries, journals, letters to our sisters/
whose mothers recited earlier accounts
while mixing turkey stuffing or brownies
in any coffee-flavored kitchen.

We are the keepers of  lesser treasures/
            relish recipes, songs our uncles sang,
            steps to the old dances/
whose children are relentlessly photographed
and ride the years from sharp to fading
in masks of cellophane.

We are the bearers of background memories/
            his last words, her first song,
            Thanksgiving before the war/
whose grandchildren will grow
to remember us
and theirs, them.


* * * * *

 "And Theirs, Them" first appeared in the author's collection The First Apples.

Judith Offer has had two daughters, five books of poetry and dozens of plays. (Eighteen of the latter, including six musicals, have been produced.)  She has read her poetry at scores of poetry venues, but is particularly delighted to have been included in the Library of Congress series and on “All Things Considered,” on NPR.  Her writing reflects her childhood in a large Catholic family—with some Jewish roots—her experience as teacher, community organizer, musician, historian, gardener, and all-purpose volunteer, and her special fascination with her roles of wife and mother.  Her most recent book of poetry, called DOUBLE CROSSING, is poems about Oakland, California, where she lives with her husband, Stuart.
           


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Culture of Rape

by Kathleen Murphey


Nolan Bruder and Brock Turner,
Birds of a feather, flock together,
Drug and Rape, Drug and Rape.

Whether his sister or a stranger,
he’s got a dick, so he’ll stick it in,
screw it if she’s unwilling.
Judges care more about him than the victim;
one brutally raped by a swimmer,
the other, a minor, raped by her brother.

Doesn’t seem like there is much honorable
about judges William Follett and Aaron Perskey
when they condone the abuse of young women
by turning the perpetrators loose.

These cases should be national disgraces,
and yet, the president of the United States
grabs women by the pussy, so why shouldn’t they?

Watch out girls and women,
we live in a culture of rape,
and pretty soon, without insurance coverage
for birth control or access to legal abortion,
we’ll be just like Offred from
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaiden’s Tale.


* * * * *


Kathleen Murphey is an associate professor of English at Community College of Philadelphia.  Recently, she has been writing fiction (both short stories and poetry) on women’s and social justice issues.  To learn more about her work, see www.kathleenmurphey.com

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Cleveland, 1962

I’m glad I went with my father
to see the bridge abutment going nowhere.
He had seen it when he drove by
in his City bus, was curious, told me
with some excitement, and I, fourteen
and usually bored, for some reason
said I’d go. And so we drove down
trashed deserted streets to the dead-end
where a bridge out over the tracks
was gone now, all but the huge orange
metal braces, some cables the size
of my father’s waist, and he told me
how it must have been, showed me
on the street across where it must
have joined, how you must have been
able then to drive right over
to Little Italy, and I smiled and nodded.
I think I did.


* * * * *

Gail Rudd Entrekin is Poetry Editor of Hip Pocket Press and Editor of the online environmental literary magazine, Canary (www.canarylitmag.org).  She is Editor of the poetry anthology Yuba Flows (2007) and the poetry & short fiction anthology Sierra Songs & Descants: Poetry & Prose of the Sierra (2002).

Her poems have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, including Cimarron Review, Nimrod, New Ohio Review, and Southern Poetry Review, were finalists for the Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry from Nimrod International Journal in 2011, and won the Women’s National Book Association Award in 2016. 

Entrekin taught poetry and English literature at California colleges for 25 years.  Her books of poetry include The Art of Healing (with Charles Entrekin) (Poetic Matrix Press 2016); Rearrangement of the Invisible, (Poetic Matrix Press, 2012); Change (Will Do You Good) (Poetic Matrix Press, 2005), which was nominated for a Northern California Book Award; You Notice the Body (Hip Pocket Press, 1998); and John Danced (Berkeley Poets Workshop & Press, 1983).  She and her husband, poet and novelist Charles Entrekin, live in the hills of San Francisco’s East Bay. 




Monday, 12 June 2017

Brewster Road
Killeen, Texas

by Gail Rudd Entrekin



There you sit in the yellow bean bag
spit shining your black boots till they gleam.
You’ll line them up before you collapse
on the turquoise aquatic sheets, the water bed
rolling slowly toward me, sloshing away.
The lieutenant retires for the day.  Taps.

When you are funny I love you:
when you do your El Medico accent,
appallingly offensive, or when you are Rock,
the punch drunk fighta from the Bronx
to my Esmeralda Robinowitz, which we do
deadpan for hours. Also when we have sex --
an activity we invented together and share
on the secret side of the blue beaded curtain --
there is love.   

                          But Vietnam is coming, my formulaic
letters, your uninformative casual missives. Your hooch maid,
your VD quarantine (which, when I’m finally told,
I will not mind, having myself slept with an old lover.)

You will arrive in uniform, my dad’s welcoming banner
above the porch, and we will not know each other.

Dusty hot days I will sit in front of the window cooler
and cry. You will call me fat, make fun of me
for eating in front of friends, in private
call me Soldier, issue orders and commands
while you lie back smoking pot, plastic cookie
wrap and soda cans around you on the rug.
And it will all unravel, go to dust, come down
to a few photos in a shoe box on a high shelf.

Already we can feel the air changing, feel
how nothing we believe
will turn out to be true.  


* * * * *

Gail Rudd Entrekin is Poetry Editor of Hip Pocket Press and Editor of the online environmental literary magazine, Canary (www.canarylitmag.org).  She is Editor of the poetry anthology Yuba Flows (2007) and the poetry & short fiction anthology Sierra Songs & Descants: Poetry & Prose of the Sierra (2002).

Her poems have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, including Cimarron Review, Nimrod, New Ohio Review, and Southern Poetry Review, were finalists for the Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry from Nimrod International Journal in 2011, and won the Women’s National Book Association Award in 2016. 

Entrekin taught poetry and English literature at California colleges for 25 years.  Her books of poetry include The Art of Healing (with Charles Entrekin) (Poetic Matrix Press 2016); Rearrangement of the Invisible, (Poetic Matrix Press, 2012); Change (Will Do You Good) (Poetic Matrix Press, 2005), which was nominated for a Northern California Book Award; You Notice the Body (Hip Pocket Press, 1998); and John Danced (Berkeley Poets Workshop & Press, 1983).  She and her husband, poet and novelist Charles Entrekin, live in the hills of San Francisco’s East Bay. 



Sunday, 11 June 2017

Snowfall
by Monica L Bellon-Harn

It’s tricky getting the key from under the wheel case to open the passenger door of his BMW. The humidity lifts a bit as the sun lowers behind the airport tower, but it is too late for my already limp hair so I adjust my crystal earrings to add sparkle. Across the empty parking lot I see a tall figure moving toward the car pulling a suitcase. I can tell that it is Paul. When he sees my face through the window his mouth opens into a crocodile grin. I smile back thinking in this moment he is expecting only me.
“Surprise,” I say as he opens the driver’s car door.
His knees slip under the steering wheel and he slides toward me. My plan is confirmed as his lips open over mine, as he pulls me toward him, the quiet sound of skin on leather, our breathing a singular rhythm. He laughs at finding my smooth waist. I search for signs in the details of our hurried conversations and encounters: from the car key he told me about to the indention where his wedding ring was before he put it in his pocket. I know he took it off to tell me I am the only one.
He kisses my ear and in a whisper asks me what I thought about as I cleaned the large office building he works in, how I felt when I dusted his desk in the early morning while he was gone. In his face I see every Norman Rockwell painting, every butter advertisement where a man and woman laugh over toast, every Hallmark commercial that ends in a hug. I’d imagined other men holding out their hands, but they would never take me to those places. I know he will. I want to tell him I know he is different. Instead I tell him that I thought about him as I went from floor to floor with my dust rag, that I wanted to watch him working at his computer throughout the day. His arms wrap around me and he undoes my dress with loose fingers. He sits back as the straps fall off my shoulders, slide down my arms, and rest below my waist. In my naked reveal he tells me I am beautiful. Then he looks at the clock on the dash. As he slides his hands up my thighs, he looks into my eyes and in that brief moment I am connected. I hold his attention, his thoughts. He lays me across the seat and as his body presses down on mine I try to find his voice again, but his face turns upward. My head is hard against the door’s armrest, but I don’t want to move. His eyes look out the passenger window, so I reach up to stroke his cheek and finger the edges of his hair that curl slightly behind his ear. He pushed against me, one hand on the dash and the other on the headrest. Then he climbs off me and I move toward him, but he is already zipping his pants.
“When can we meet again?” I ask.
“Whenever you can find the time,” he replies.
By the time I climb back into my Civic, he is gone. I breathe in his smell and hope he holds the memory of me as he drives home. I want him to think of me as the gates of his driveway open and he pulls his car past his manicured rose bushes into his three-car garage. I want my body tattooed on his mind. I had said something to him about meeting me in another town. I would take a day off work to meet him at a restaurant far from his clients and business associates. It was something the desperate do, making allowances, constructing scenarios in hopes that the life you pretend becomes your own. I float in and out of the spaces and places he may be, contort myself to become a prop in his life, wanting to play center stage.
I told him I don’t want anything, but that is a lie.
As I cruise away from the airport my dim dashboard clock tells me it is nearing 7 pm on a Saturday night - the time when daytime drunks sip their last drinks in silence before driving home on back roads. “Now what,” I ask myself. I am jazzed with the feel of him and cannot sit alone. As I coast along the main street through town, letters spelling Hocus Pocus blaze in the distance, and I smile at the thought of my favorite liquor store. Sam greets me warmly as he rings up my scotch.
“Good night?” he asks.
“Too soon to tell,” I say and he laughs.
I drive away from town toward the country where flat open fields fall to the left and right and rough crevices announce wooden bridges that cross low-lying waterways. Trailer parks and random clapboard homes pepper the sides of the road. Plastic Santa Claus figures faded with time faintly glow yellow and pink instead of green and red. Low slung lights mark the asphalt drive that lead to my friend Nick’s blue singlewide.
I met him at the Oyster House, which is a decent restaurant with a small bar in the back. He was from southwest Louisiana, but he tried to make his way in Colorado for a while. He came back because he decided he could drink as much as he wanted in Louisiana, but could avoid high rent and disrespect. When he arrived back in town he got a job driving a truck and trailer for a construction company. The bosses didn’t know he kept a cooler of Natural Light in the cab. One early afternoon he had a few too many and jackknifed the vehicle on top of the main bridge that links our town to the outside world. It held up traffic for hours. Truckers turned off their engines and sat on the edge of the bridge railing, dangling their legs as they watched the lights of the police make their way up the steep incline.
I knock on his aluminum door.
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” he yells from a window.
He pushes the door open and wraps me in a bear hug.
“To what do I owe the pleasure,” he says, taking my bottle of scotch.
“Just driving,” I tell him.
“Your weekly tour of the high life and the low life?” he laughs.
“Are you going to pour or should I tour someone else’s life?” I reply.
Nick searches for clean glasses, so I walk to the back door and step carefully outside onto the concrete stoop.  Nick stole it from another trailer somewhere south of town, so it isn’t attached. I kick off my heels and sit with my long bare legs stretched out on the rough surface. As insects buzz overhead, I wonder what winter means. I have seen pictures of families bundled in front of fireplaces or fathers building snowmen with their children, but I wish that one day I might know how snowflakes feel on my eyelashes, if the clean, white frozen dust would freeze my cheeks.
Nick walks outside and sits next to me.
 “You are better than him,” he says. “And all the others,” he says.
“I wish I was better than this,” I say looking at my dirty feet. One of my sparkle earrings has fallen in my lap.
Nick shrugs his shoulders, “I wish you would quit thinking you need to be.”
We sit quietly, knowing that late night thoughts float on air and stay with the company you keep. We brush mosquitoes from our bodies and finally walk back inside. My body runs hot with the scotch, a slow burn like the small steady flame of a match. Nick settles in his recliner for the evening and asks me to kick back with him, but I can’t. I have given into the heat and grown tired of the sound of my solitary voice calling me to places I can never really ever know. I give him a kiss on the cheek and head out.
On my familiar path to Cheryl’s Lounge streetlights sweep over my front window in succession, helping me pace my speed. I sit in the parking lot and watch couples stumble up the front walkway. The flickering florescent light above the entrance creates shadows against the faded, rusty white aluminum door. Lights hang haphazardly from the gutter loosely attached to the awning. I look at my phone for texts or voicemail and then walk in, sit at my usual stool, and light a cigarette. “Johnnie Walker Black,” I say.
“You must think you’re something special,” says a voice behind me, and I turn to see my father, PJ Jr. taking the stool next to me. “With tits like that I guess you can order whatever you want,” he laughs.
“I just want a drink, but if you are going to be nasty I can go somewhere else,” I say.
“Come on now,” he says, patting my arm with stained fingertips. “You know you’re my little monkey.”
He once fixed cars for a living. He spent his last day of full time employment smoking while working on a truck’s gas line. When the sparks flew he stood mesmerized by the arc of fire until the boss yanked him away and told him never to come back. Some old friends who remembered him from when he could make an engine hum let him sleep on a mattress in their garage. He worked for them when he was sober, which wasn’t very often. “He made his own bed,” his sisters told me, unfazed. They wouldn’t forgive him for showing up to my grandmother’s funeral drunk and shirtless. PJ Jr. was a mean drunk, too mean for them to love anymore. Sometimes they drove by Cheryl’s Lounge to see if his truck was parked in the lot, confirming he wasn’t dead yet. I stopped in regularly.
 “Who’s this little lady?” asks a man as he slings one arm around my father.
I look at him blankly and raise one eyebrow.
“Hands off,” says my father. “She’s all mine.”
The man snorts. “I’m his daughter,” I say getting up from my stool.
“I’m his drinking buddy,” the man replies, taking one step closer to me.
“Is there any other kind?” I say as I toss back the rest of my drink and walk into the night air.
I should drive by Paul’s house. If I park across his street I can see the front window through the hedges. I want to watch him eat with his family and pretend I am the one sitting opposite him at the dining room table. With my car window down an inch, I light a cigarette and head to the neighborhoods with large brick entrances, where each house is bigger than the last.
I park across the street from his home with dark windows and head toward his lawn. Dinnertime is long over. My feet sink in the St. Augustine grass and the smell of winter camellia fills the air. Toy soldiers and a nutcracker the size of a person lead to the front walkway. They watch me, shrouded in dark, no benefit of twinkling white lights. My legs bolt toward the house where there are thick patches of fake snow, and I lay on a crazy quilt of white and green to make a snow angel. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Stars and white fluff against the dark sky become a blur. My thick tongue licks my lips, and I grimace at the bitter taste. The grass beneath the fa├žade of snow pokes my ear, but my heavy head remains flat on the ground. I close my eyes and beads of sweat run down my neck. My shirt clings to my skin and the night air chills my wet body.
A dog’s bark from inside the house makes my eyes snap open. A light pops on, then off. My body freezes as my heart races. Shifting my eyes I look for a sign of movement but no dog barks again, no one appears. Maybe I was unseen I think. As seconds tick I remain on my back until stillness settles in the air. I slowly get to my feet and after a couple of dips, I steady myself and quietly walk to the edge of the driveway. White fluff falls from my hands and drifts off my head as I move toward my car.
My pack of cigarettes tempts me but I don’t light up until I am on the main drag headed home. At a stop sign I flick the lighter and I am a single point of light on the empty road, picking up speed. I pull into the gravel parking space of my garage apartment and will myself up each step to my door. My phone vibrates in my purse so I abandon my search for my apartment key to read a text from Paul. Three words - Don’t contact me. The expected sometimes feels like a slap in the face. You watch the hand flatten and the arm raise. Even though you know it’s coming, it still stings with surprise. I slide down my front door and sit on the damp mat until I realize I have fallen sideways, so I find the key and walk inside.
I slide out of my pants and leave them on the floor as I walk to my bedroom and sit on a white wicker stool in front of a vanity that I have had since I was a small child. Flakes of the silver reflective coating from the mirror have sloughed off over the years. Pieces of black pock my face when I peer at my image. I imagine Paul’s wife. She has small wrists that pearl bracelets neatly fit. Her collarbones dip perfectly so that her jewelry glints just the right amount. Her dress never rides up her rear and her shoes always match.
I look around my room, eavesdropping on my own life. My prize Mardi Gras beads, a strand with large gold bulbs, hang from the knob of my closet door. The pink and yellow blanket my grandmother crocheted for me when I was small is folded on the edge of my bed. I open the top drawer of my vanity. Everything is a tangle, a random assortment of the lost and found - sunglasses I bought for a weekend on the gulf, a huge pencil with a tassel I won at a carnival, shiny barrettes that I can’t wear because they slip out of my hair. I touch my necklaces hanging from a hook. I reach over to grab one with a single butterfly held by two thin ropes of gold. A man with a shock of yellowing gray hair gave it to me in a bar. I had never met him before, but he told funny stories and paid for the drinks so I let him stay next to me even though he smelled like sweat and bourbon. We closed the place down and as I got up to leave he pulled this necklace out of his pocket and asked if he could put it around my neck. I can still see his watery eyes as he put his arms around me to close the clasp.
I put on the necklace and my breath fogs the mirror as I peer into my own brown eyes. My pupils open wide in the dark. I wonder if he remembers me, if that night he saw more than just a girl at a bar with a drink in hand hoping for another. I wonder if he saw who he needed me to be or who I am. What is beyond my view that I cannot see? What blinds my search? I climb onto my unmade bed with the butterfly between my fingers and close my eyes.

* * * * *


Monica L Bellon-Harn lives in southeast Texas, where she works as a professor in Speech and Hearing Sciences.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

The sixth Moon Prize* goes to Alexis Rhone Fancher's poem "For the Sad Waitress at the Diner in Barstow"—backdating to the full moon of February 10, 2017. This poem grabbed me on first reading and has never yet let go. Congratulations, Alexis Rhone Fancher.


For the Sad Waitress at the Diner in Barstow

by Alexis Rhone Fancher


beyond the kitchen’s swinging door,
beyond the order wheel and the pass-through piled
high with bacon, hash browns, biscuits and gravy,

past the radio, tuned to 101.5-FM
All Country – All the Time,
past the truckers overwhelming the counter,
all grab-ass and longing.

in the middle of morning rush you’ll
catch her, in a wilted pink uniform,
coffee pot fused in her grip, staring over
the top of your head

you’ll follow her gaze, out the fly-specked, plate
glass windows, past the parking lot,

watch as she eyes those 16-wheelers barreling
down the highway, their mud guards
adorned with chrome silhouettes of naked women
who look nothing like her.

the cruel sun throws her inertia in her face.
this is what regret looks like.

maybe she’s searching for that hot day in August
when she first walked away from you.

there’s a choking sound
a semi makes, when it pulls off the
highway; that downshift a death rattle
she’s never gotten used to.

maybe she’s looking for a way back.
maybe she’s ready to come home.

(But for now) she’s lost herself
between the register and the door, the endless
business from table to kitchen, she’s

as much leftover as those sunny side eggs,
yolks hardening on your plate.


* * * * *

"For the Sad Waitress at the Diner in Barstow" was first published in The San Pedro River Review, 2016 and in S-Curves,
http://s-curvesonline.com/sad-waitress-diner-barstow/ (2016)

Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and other 
heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). 
She is published in The Best American Poetry 2016, Rattle, Slipstream, Hobart, Cleaver, The 
MacGuffin, Poetry East, Plume, Glass, and elsewhere. Her photographs are published 
worldwide, including the cover of Witness, Heyday, and Nerve Cowboy, and a spread in River 
Styx. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural 
Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles. Find out more at: www.alexisrhonefancher.com 


* The Moon Prize ($91) is awarded once a month on the full moon for a story or poem posted in Writing In A Woman's Voice during the moon cycle period preceding the full moon. I don't really want this to be competition. I simply want to share your voices. And then I want to pick one voice during a moon cycle for the prize. I fund this with 10% of my personal modest income. I wish I could pay for each and every poem or story, but I am not that rich. (Yet?) For a little while only there will be two awards each month, on the day of the full moon and the day after, until I catch up with past postings.

Why 91? 91 is a mystical number for me. It is 7 times 13. 13 is my favorite number. (7 isn't half bad either.) There are 13 moons in a year. I call 13 my feminist number, reasoning that anything that was declared unlucky in a patriarchal world has to be mysteriously excellent. Then there are 4 times 91 days in a year (plus one day, or two days in leap years), so approximately 91 days each season. In some Mayan temples there are or were 91 steps on each of four sides. Anyway, that's where the number 91 comes from, not to mention that it's in the approximate neighborhood of 100.


Friday, 9 June 2017

The fifth Moon Prize* goes to Gloria Mindock's poem "Waiting"—backdating to the full moon of January 12, 2017. Congratulations on a poem that packs a complicated universe into a handful of words, Gloria Mindock.



Waiting

by Gloria Mindock

Waiting for an angel to circle, drop
threads on our faces, we cover our eyes
in this system of the obsolete.

After awhile, we are meek in our armchair
watching TV…
feeling lazy, thinking, we have time.

Gather yourself.
The bullets fly on this hot summer day
into your skin.


* * * * *

The Moon Prize ($91) is awarded once a month on the full moon for a story or poem posted in Writing In A Woman's Voice during the moon cycle period preceding the full moon. I don't really want this to be competition. I simply want to share your voices. And then I want to pick one voice during a moon cycle for the prize. I fund this with 10% of my personal modest income. I wish I could pay for each and every poem or story, but I am not that rich. (Yet?) For a little while only there will be two awards each month, on the day of the full moon and the day after, until I catch up with past postings.

Why 91? 91 is a mystical number for me. It is 7 times 13. 13 is my favorite number. (7 isn't half bad either.) There are 13 moons in a year. I call 13 my feminist number, reasoning that anything that was declared unlucky in a patriarchal world has to be mysteriously excellent. Then there are 4 times 91 days in a year (plus one day, or two days in leap years), so approximately 91 days each season. In some Mayan temples there are or were 91 steps on each of four sides. Anyway, that's where the number 91 comes from, not to mention that it's in the approximate neighborhood of 100.


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Breasts by Candlelight

by Myra King


She steps out of
going-away clothes
like a dainty dancer
white waxed thighs,
meet in shadow's flickering
vertical line
to a promised entry.
Curves carve the darkness
a silhouette
worthy of the greatest sculptor.

Wedding day's froth and ritual
gone
lost in love light's flame
for, before life
sped her on her way,
the always serious friend
showed a different face,
pressed a candle, thin
in its golden holder,
into her hand.
Take this,
she'd whispered,
and give him
a night
to remember.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

the everyday saint

by Eileen Murphy


monday nights
she volunteers at an abused women’s shelter
and thursdays
she dedicates to the rights of peruvians
and she visits an assisted living facility
every weekend

her clothes are from a thrift shop
she doesn’t own a television
and she’s used to starvation
eating only pop tarts

one day she gets a brain tumor
the tricky kind that multiplies
so quickly the surgeons
can’t keep up

no miracles ensue
a peruvian professor friend
moves in with her
stays till the end

soon she is gone gone gone
this is her song


* * * * *

A former Chicagolander, Eileen Murphy now lives 30 miles from Tampa. She received her Masters degree from Columbia College, Chicago. She teaches literature and English at Polk State College in Lakeland and has recently published poetry in Thirteen Myna Birds, Tinderbox (nominated for Pushcart Prize), Yes Poetry, The American Journal of PoetryRogue AgentDeaf Poets Society, and other journals.