Thursday, 16 July 2020


In Memory Of....

by Amy Ballard Rich


Ghosts surround me,
sipping me down
with my coffee
as I sit on my deck
bathing in red spring leaves,
blossoms, flowers,
and new light green tips
of fir tree boughs

Sitting on my deck
is my homage to the fallen,
my 30-minute jog around the house
doesn't shake them loose,
the dust on my car
remembers their breath

The fallen dying alone,
maybe saying goodbye
into a tablet or phone,
now keep me company,
alongside my sips of coffee

My breath in and out,
still going strong,
tells me not to complain
that I cannot hug my friends,
or read a poem at a mic

The ghosts linger
on the rim of my coffee cup,
tricking my ears into hearing
a far-off lawn mower
sounding like a wheezing lung,
struggling on a ventilator

My stillness is my small homage,
my silence is my sign of respect
my breath is my reminder,
that although surrounded by ghosts,
I am still alive


* * * * *

Amy Ballard Rich's work can be found in many anthologies, including Mermaid Mirror and Milvia Street Art and Literary Journal. When not writing she can be found advocating for social justice, and hugging trees.


Wednesday, 15 July 2020


Weekend Getaway

by Emma Alexandrov


Just for an hour on the beach
I accord myself my right to hunger.
I amuse myself with pretending I am immortal.

Beside me my man's body dissolves into sand
from the inside out.
I imagine unfurling inside him
there is a conch-shell spiral
of sand replacing his organs
twirl by twirl. Soon he will blow
away. I look into his darling face,
which I can't even see.
Instead there is a zoetrope
where flicker the faces
of all the men I've loved
like nervous reflections on a tidal pool.

I imagine god is cross
with my hubris
and he changes the beach
into a bank of sand
at the bottom of a glass bottle
turned on its side.
I feel the sky sloping around me like tight walls
and my blankeyed man is all I have
to comfort me, half-buried in the sand looking
like a doll so cheap it's got a sticker
for a face. Thing always peels off
and it's always me
who's gotta stick it back on,
poor thing,
that doll.


* * * * *

Emma Alexandrov is keeping herself from dwelling too much on mortality by reading and writing poems, trying to figure out how to get computers to think, and editing Windows Facing Windows Review. She's currently rooted in Atlanta, GA, Portland, OR, and Poughkeepsie, NY. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2020


Pandemic Pantoum

by Lesléa Newman


Is today Monday or Tuesday?
Are you taking a shower today?
Has anyone fed the cat?
Would you like me to make you some breakfast?

Are you taking a shower today?
Is it time to do laundry again?
Would you like me to make you some breakfast?
Are you getting dressed today?

Is it time to do laundry again?
Are the plates in the dishwasher clean?
Are you getting dressed today?
Would you like me to give you a haircut?

Are the plates in the dishwasher clean?
What time are you Zooming today?
Would you like me to give you a haircut?
Would you like me to make you some lunch?

What time are you Zooming today?
Would you like to go for a walk?
Would you like me to make you some lunch?
Did you speak to your family today?

Would you like to go for a walk?
Is it time to order some groceries?
Did you speak to your family today?
Who ate the last piece of chocolate?

Is it time to order some groceries?
Did you remember to wipe off the mail?
Who ate the last piece of chocolate?
Are we running out of TP?

Did you remember to wipe off the mail?
Would you like me to make you some dinner?
Are we running out of TP?
Can we please stop watching the news?

Would you like me to make you some dinner?
Are you ready to go to sleep?
Can we please stop watching the news?
Would you make me a snack before bed?

Are you ready to go to sleep?
Is today Monday or Tuesday?
Would you make me a snack before bed?
Has anyone fed the cat?


* * * * *

Lesléa Newman is the creator of 75 books for readers of all ages including the poetry collections, Still Life With Buddy, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, I Carry My Mother, and I Wish My Father (forthcoming, Headmistress Press). Her literary awards include poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation. From 2008 - 2010, she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, MA. Currently she teaches at Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing.

Monday, 13 July 2020


Novi Sad, 24 February 1922

in the imagined voice of Mileva Marić Einstein*
by Catherine Arra


Papa died today
a disheartened man
stripped of wealth and standing
by war.
Mother ill,
a son missing in Russia,
a mentally dysfunctional daughter,
and me—
his hope and sacrifice,
his prodigy,
who would make history,
his aspiring scientist
lost to motherhood, domesticity,
and the world as it is.

I’m so sorry, Papa.


* * * * *

*Mileva Marić Einstein was a visionary mathematician and scientist in her own right. There is evidence to indicate that she was instrumental, and perhaps a collaborator, in the scientific papers that comprised Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis, or Miracle Year, of epoch-making theories that redefined the mechanics of the universe and laid the path to his fame. Mileva and Albert married in 1903, after the birth and loss of an illegitimate daughter, Lieserl. They later had two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard. They separated in 1914, and officially divorced in 1919.

"Mileva" is part of the forthcoming poetry collection Her Landscape: Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein (Finishing Line Press 2020).

Catherine Arra is the author of (Women in Parentheses) (Kelsay Books, 2019), Writing in the Ether (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and three chapbooks. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous journals online and in print, and in several anthologies. Forthcoming in 2020 from Finishing Line Press is a new chapbook, Her Landscape, Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein. Arra is a native of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York, where she teaches part-time and facilitates local writing groups. Find her at www.catherinearra.com.

Sunday, 12 July 2020


Mileva

in the imagined voice of Mileva Marić Einstein*
by Catherine Arra


His trajectory would span time itself.
His magnetic field, his center of gravity—givens,
a blueprint demanding architects, builders,
fans, financiers, and sacrifice.

He siphoned people into himself, a whirlpool,
or pulled them along in his wake.
Irresistible. His vision unrelenting.
His poetry and light inescapable. All were helpless
against their love, hate, or awe of him.

Each in kindfamily,
colleagues, loverswould become fuel, lift, velocity,
his coterie in collusions, betrayals, all that was necessary
to complete the arc of his life.
It was non-negotiable. No one bargains with God.

I knew his mind, merged and mated with it.
I loved the man too, his boyish frailty,
his appetites and sensuality,
the padding softness of his footfall,
the rhythms of his breathing, his smell.
The way he beckoned me, come.

I was his wife. I am Mileva.


* * * * *

*Mileva Marić Einstein was a visionary mathematician and scientist in her own right. There is evidence to indicate that she was instrumental, and perhaps a collaborator, in the scientific papers that comprised Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis, or Miracle Year, of epoch-making theories that redefined the mechanics of the universe and laid the path to his fame. Mileva and Albert married in 1903, after the birth and loss of an illegitimate daughter, Lieserl. They later had two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard. They separated in 1914, and officially divorced in 1919.

"Mileva" is part of the forthcoming poetry collection Her Landscape: Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein (Finishing Line Press 2020).

Catherine Arra is the author of (Women in Parentheses) (Kelsay Books, 2019), Writing in the Ether (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and three chapbooks. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous journals online and in print, and in several anthologies. Forthcoming in 2020 from Finishing Line Press is a new chapbook, Her Landscape, Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein. Arra is a native of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York, where she teaches part-time and facilitates local writing groups. Find her at www.catherinearra.com.

Saturday, 11 July 2020


FORGIVENESS

by Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard

            in memory of Eva Kor


Sagittarius A, that astronomers
describe as a gravitational monster
pulled in passing stars in its
cosmic dance. Yet some stars manage

to survive the gravitational dance
of a black hole. Like Eva Kor
who survived Auschwitz because
she and her sister were treated

as guinea pigs by Dr. Mengele
who carried out his medical experiments
to create an Aryan master race.
She responded to the horrors by preaching

the power of forgiveness, persuading
a former physician at Auschwitz
to sign a document acknowledging
the gas chamber. Afterwards, Eva

wrote him a letter expressing her belief
in forgiving tormentors, as a thank you
for his gesture, that lifted
her burden of pain. We don't need

houses of worship to feel close
to the Creator, or astronomers
to explain the human cosmos,
but to face evil, the lust for power,

a hatred for others, and to respond
with a luminous soul rising
above the gravitational dance
of dark and light.


* * * * *

Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard (http://www.margueritegbouvard.com/) is the author of ten poetry books, two of which have won awards, including the MassBook Award for Poetry. She has also written many non-fiction books on women's rights, social justice, grief, illness, and The Invisible Wounds of War: Coming Home from Iraq and Afghanistan. She is a former professor of Political Science and Poetry, a former Resident scholar at Women's Studies Research Center and Environmental Studies at Brandeis University.






Friday, 10 July 2020


Prayer To Our Unborn Grandchild
April 2020

by Brooke Herter James


Give us time
tiny one
while you lie
in your warm nest

eyes accustomed to
silky darkness  ears
to heartbeat nocturne
room just enough to wave

Wait right there
while we prepare
our home for you 
we have much to do 

this was a hard winter
late April and still snow falls
Give us the spring
and the summer too

to kneel in the dirt
set down grains and kernels
then fill empty vases
with sweet peas and phlox

eat warm cherry tomatoes
ears of silver queen corn
Give us early fall to harvest
fingerling potatoes

turn honeycrisp apples into pie
pick the last of the raspberries
gather pumpkins from the field
watch geese flock together again

Grant us the time to remember
the gifts of this world
that is soon to be yours.
Then hurry up and come.


* * * * *

Brooke Herter James is a children’s book author and poet living in Vermont. She has published two chapbooks, The Widest Eye (2016) and Spring Took the Long Way Around (2019). Her work has appeared in Poets Reading the News, New Verse News, and PoemTown Vermont. Brooke was a finalist in the Poetry Society of Vermont’s 2019 National Poetry Contest.


Thursday, 9 July 2020


Lunacy

by Brooke Herter James


She woke at midnight
disoriented by the moon — 
its light so bright as to
make shadows across the yard

like the certain brush strokes
of late afternoon sun
reaching around tree trunks
to lay patterns on the grass.

Is this madness?
to grope for shoes and robe,
to leave the house silently,
to stand on the front stoop

and wait —  as if for a lover
to emerge from the silver gauze,
take her by the hand,
lure her out, like the tide?

Then the dog barks,
she retreats inside, lies down
beside her gently snoring husband,
listens to the clock tick.

But she refuses sleep — not wishing
to risk the disappointment
of waking a second time
and knowing exactly where she is.


* * * * *

Brooke Herter James is a children’s book author and poet living in Vermont. She has published two chapbooks, The Widest Eye (2016) and Spring Took the Long Way Around (2019). Her work has appeared in Poets Reading the News, New Verse News, and PoemTown Vermont. Brooke was a finalist in the Poetry Society of Vermont’s 2019 National Poetry Contest.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Just an image -- in case Facebook wants to capture one for future Writing In A Woman's Voice posts.



Photo of My Dead Son, Taken At The DMV

by Alexis Rhone Fancher


My son’s photo lives on my computer desktop. In it, he stands at the counter of the DMV, redeems himself from too many tickets, pays the fine, receives a second chance. I can tell he’s learned his lesson, the way he stares into the camera, head in hand, a satisfied look on his face. Like the cat who ate the canary, my mother would say. Death, lurking inside my boy, has yet to make an appearance. He looks immortal. Whenever the photo catches my eye my throat tightens, his face a touchstone. A grief-filled pit. Reduced to a thumbnail, one of a hundred on the screen, my son fights for air. I want to click on his face, open him wide to life, but he would drown in my sorrow if not already dead. Yesterday, K’s son, diagnosed with an AVM at 21. Tests, she writes, dozens of tests. Her boy, acting like a trooper. I can see she’s still in that hopeful phase; reality hasn’t yet sunk in. I want to tell her about another friend’s sweet boy, who died of the same, cruel flaw, the same ticking time bomb in his head, but I don’t; I can’t. Instead, I lie awake, night after night, knowing what grief, too, lies in wait, but I can’t save her son. Last night when I finally drifted off, my dead boy covered me with his yellow baby blanket.

Sleep now, mama, he said.




* * * * *

"Photo of My Dead Son, Taken At The DMV" was first published in Paterson Literary Review (#47, 2019), and is also published in THE DEAD KID POEMS, (KYSO Flash Press, 2019).

L.A poet Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry, Rattle, Poetry East, 
Hobart, VerseDaily, American Journal of Poetry, Duende, Plume, Diode, Wide Awake: 
Poets of Los Angeles, and elsewhere. She’s the author of five published poetry collections, most 
recently, Junkie Wife (Moon Tide Press, 2018), and The Dead Kid Poems (KYSO Flash 
Press, 2019). EROTIC: New & Selected, publishes in 2020 from New York QuarterlyHer 
photographs are published worldwide, including River Styx, and the covers of Pithead Chapel,
Heyday, and Witness. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry 
editor of Cultural Weeklywww.alexisrhonefancher.com


Tuesday, 7 July 2020


Back On Meth, Anna Dumps Her Dog At Her Mother’s

by Alexis Rhone Fancher


1. The dog can’t climb the stairs.
I hear the defeat in my sister’s voice.

The vet was cheap, she says, for a Sunday.
$150 bucks, including the arthritis medication.

A steal, I agree. Just put it on Anna’s tab.

2. My daughter’s a bottomless pit, my sister says.
She thinks I’m made of money!
What makes her think she can sponge off me?

You do, I answer.
I’m done, my sister swears.

This time I almost believe her.

3. Let’s role play, I say, when my sister wavers.
You be me, and I’ll be a pushover.

That night Anna shows up, suicidal,
high as a kite. I don’t know how long I can live like this,
my sister texts from inside a locked bathroom.

I text back: You may have to give up the dog.

4. Next day my sister calls.
We’re keeping the dog, she says.
We’re the only stable family he’s ever known.

I hear Anna screaming in the background.

5. When the phone rings at 3 a.m.
I’m afraid to answer.

This time it’s a wrong number.
This time.


* * * * *

"Back On Meth, Anna Dumps Her Dog At Her Mother’s" was first published in The Chiron Review (Summer 2019)

L.A poet Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry, Rattle, Poetry East, 
Hobart, VerseDaily, American Journal of Poetry, Duende, Plume, Diode, Wide Awake: 
Poets of Los Angeles, and elsewhere. She’s the author of five published poetry collections, most 
recently, Junkie Wife (Moon Tide Press, 2018), and The Dead Kid Poems (KYSO Flash 
Press, 2019). EROTIC: New & Selected, publishes in 2020 from New York QuarterlyHer 
photographs are published worldwide, including River Styx, and the covers of Pithead Chapel,
Heyday, and Witness. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry 
editor of Cultural Weeklywww.alexisrhonefancher.com


Monday, 6 July 2020


Caption
photograph, your personal effects

by Frances Jackson


my grandmother
in her 40s,
in the 80s,
sitting on a new green polyester couch
in the woods
in Alabama.

my grandfather
in the other room,
or at the bar,
playing cards.
before the old computer
came to the basement
where he liked to sit in the morning
and drink whole milk.

my young mother,
out of frame in the living room,
her young brother
smiling with no teeth.
she cried in the hospital,
some fifteen years before,
because he was born
and people below her cried, too,
for baby boys grown up and gone wrong.

but we all still suffer and
we all still soothe,
and we are all alone
in our own frames
above the leather recliner,
and everyone says how
beautiful we are but
we can’t bear to look.


* * * * *

Frances Jackson is a queer, female poet based out of Atlanta, GA. She is currently working on her doctorate degree.

Sunday, 5 July 2020


This month there is an additional Moon Prize, the 57th, and it goes to Dulce Maria Menendez's poem "A Sonata For My Mother."


A Sonata For My Mother

by Dulce Maria Menendez


Because her mother died when she was five.
Because a child should not lose her mother at the age of five.
Because the nuns dressed her as baby Jesus.
Because she wasn't educated past the age of 13.
Because she had to stop going to school to work for her aunt's who beat her and made her wear shoes which were a size too small.
Because she had to give up ballet.
Because she was a lion with green cat yes and her tresses swept past her round
face in the breezes of Havana.
Because she met my father at a bus stop.
Because someone forgot to tell her he was psychofrenic.
Because she was happy for three months before she found out.
Because she left Cuba for US(A).
Because she held my hand as we walked the streets in Miami.
Because she stopped driving after almost killing us in an automobile accident shortly after arriving in Miami.
Because she almost broke her back hunched over a sewing machine.
Because she waited for my father to come home.
Because she waited for my father to come home again.
Because she waited for my father never to return.
Because she left my father.
Because she left my father again.
Because she returned to my father.
Because she loved my father more than me and my sister.
Because she called me hija.
Because she lost her mind.
Because she regained it after my father's death.
Because she wrote poems. 
Because she listened to Rubinstein play Chopin over and over again.
Because she never said a bad word.
Because my sister was her treasure.
Because I was a daddy's girl.
Because she was a work of art.
Because her name was Salome and she carried the beheading of all eternity upon her elegant shoulders as she turned her head to see you as if for the first time.

And why does my mother listen to Chopin?
And why does the sonata bring her comfort?
And why is the sky blue? I asked her once.
Any why did she play Chopin to offer me an answer?
And why does my father leave us again and again? I asked her.
And why am I incarcerated in my own home so far away during this pandemic without my mother?
Listen.
Listen.
Listen. 
The sonata plays.
The phone rings.
It is someone from long ago who remembers my mother.
And why does my mother die on the day of the innocents?
Does Chopin have the answer?
I don't know other than at death as in the sonata
we play alone.

----

For Maria Salome Menendez Planes born October 22, 1932 and died April 1, 2020.


* * * * *

Dulce Maria Menendez publishes artists and poets.