Sunday, 11 April 2021

Centripetal Forces

by Ellen Roberts Young

Five lean on each other,
two parents, three children,
no child’s star, pointing outward.

Linked like Olympic rings
they learn piastres, lire, share
a rich diet of museums, churches,

operas. Together they enter
the English book store,
stop for mail at American Express.

Mama and Papa study the language,
put children in English-speaking schools.
No classmates come to visit.

The five avoid quarrels, having
only each other, their neighbors strangers.
The children can wander

only on Venice’s carless streets,
divide on preferences for
Velazquez or Brueghel.

Returned to a home, a yard, a town
they know, each goes out to friends.
Pressure released, rings unlock,
can’t hold the family together.

* * * * *

"Centripetal Forces" is from Ellen Roberts Young's chapbook Transported (Finishing Line Press, 2021).

 Roberts Young’s chapbook, Transported, describes her travels in Europe and Egypt when she was twelve and their after-effects. Her poems have been published in numerous print and online journals; she also has a new full-length collection, Lost in the Greenwood, about unicorn tapestries of five hundred years ago. She is an editor of Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders Journal and blogs at Her website is

1 comment:

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