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Poetry Winter 2022    fiction    all issues


Li Zhang

Ana Reisens
Pam asked about Europe
& other poems

Krystle May Statler
To the Slow Burn
& other poems

Kristina Cecka
On Remodeling
& other poems

Belinda Roddie
Bless The Bones Of California
& other poems

Summer Rand
Alexander tells me how he'd like to be buried
& other poems

Alexander Perez
Toward the Rainbow
& other poems

Karo Ska
self-portrait of compassion…
& other poems

David Southward
The Pelican
& other poems

George Longenecker
Stamp Collection
& other poems

Mary Keating
& other poems

Talya Jankovits
Imagine A World Without Raging Hormones
& other poems

Laurie Holding
Sonnet to Mr. Frost
& other poems

David Ruekberg
A Short Essay on Love
& other poems

Elaine Greenwood
There’s a thick, quiet Angel
& other poems

Richard Baldo
Carry On Caretaker
& other poems

Jefferson Singer
Dave Righetti’s No-Hitter…
& other poems

Diane Ayer
A Fan
& other poems

Kaecey McCormick
Meditation Before Desert Monsoon
& other poems

Meg Whelan
& other poems

Katherine B. Arthaud
& other poems

Aaron Glover
On Transformation
& other poems

Anne Marie Wells
[I'm crying in a sandwich shop reading Diane Seuss' sonnets]
& other poems

Holly Cian
& other poems

Kimberly Russo
Selective Memories are the Only Gift of Dementia
& other poems

Steven Monte
& other poems

Mervyn Seivwright
Fear Mountain
& other poems

Laurie Holding

Rabbit Dreams

You snore on the couch with eyes open wide.

Now and then, after rabbit dreams, you turn

to reposition on a new, cool, side

and growl. It’s a groan of pain, and I’ve learned

to pat your head, make sounds that say I see

your old heart’s worries, the way sadness bites

up what life’s become. You gaze into me,

closing rheumy eyes, giving up the fight.

Maybe you’re just wondering where they’ve gone,

children of your left behind backyard play.

Their newfound taillights are making you yawn,

not of boredom but of upset, the days

splayed out before you, no sprinkler or balls

or promise of school bus sounds in the street,

no one showing you baseball cards or dolls,

no more races or under table treats.

When it smells good, like bird, some will come back

to tell you new secrets, hug you and hold

your head on their laps. But you’ve watched them pack.

Again, the driveway says it all. You fold

with a sigh, watch that enemy, the street.

They say goodbye with a flick of high beams.

Do they hold dear the balls, the dolls, the treats?

Or are memories just more rabbit dreams?

The Last Father’s Day

That spring we watched as white oaks fell, with rain

that weighed their branches down and snapped their boles.

Now settled on the ground, just one remained.

We made our ways around those fallen souls

to find the wound once hidden from our view,

a secret rot, and now a living space

for groundhogs, possums, mice, or coons, who knew.

The tree man came and sliced it off earth’s face.

That Father’s Day, so sick, but still you stood

and wobbled back and forth like in a game,

as if to show us all that nothing could

uproot our father’s strong, athletic frame.

“You see?” you said. “I stand just like your tree.

No one can see that Death’s devouring me.”


You are what made my childhood a childhood.

We’d clasp hands

and let other girls walk beneath our bridge.

We’d sing: Falling down, falling down.

We’d trap them and laugh.

Or there were games in our mothers’ cars:

Hold your breath past the graveyard,

and while you’re crossing that Fifth Street Bridge,

lift your feet!

Suspended over time, suddenly what matters is below,

what passes beneath. All that water.

You are just a shadow in my life,

but one of the longest shadows, at that.

As far apart as we can be and still be in this country together,

I can hear your laughter like it’s coming from my backyard.

Oh, to climb a plum tree again!

To eat until we’re sick, then move to an apple tree to eat some more,

to lift the creek’s mossy stones for hidden crawdads,

to let our Easter ducks swim free there, then

to return the next day to feed them and call them by name.

To jump rope,

to hit a tether ball,

to freeze in the beam of a flashlight.

to fall over laughing.

To hold our breath past that graveyard, hearts pounding.

To hide,

to seek.

I do all these things, still.

I seek you out and meet you many nights on the bridge,

to help still my ancient heart, my racing brain.

I become nine again.

I hide behind you.

Then I sleep.

Sonnet to Mr. Frost

When I see golden buses on the hill,

I like to think some big dog sits and waits.

On board, some school-tired boy shields eyes until

he spots the dog beyond the neighbor’s gates.

The friends take off, their path a jagged line,

and flowers dip their golden heads to watch,

as does the screened-in woman, drinking wine.

She throws the boy a candy, butterscotch.

It’s when the world has weighed me so far down

that boys and dogs and wine and golden field

acquaint me with those treasures not yet brown,

and years from now these memories will yield

a lesson straight and true: While gold can’t stay,

it’s worth its weight in daydreams, anyway.

Midnight Walk

On a whim, we meet at the old house,

to walk the walk we walked

when you were just a son

and I was just your mom.

We’ve picked a pearl of a night,

the kind where the moon swims behind giant swaths of cloud,

and like strippers, the stars show only a portion of their constellations,

but enough to be revealing.

“There’s his belt!” you whisper up at Orion.

Your backpack holds just a couple of Coronas.

Nothing like the burden of beers we used to carry,

night after night as we walked away

the grief of losing my father,

your grandfather,

your girlfriend,

our dog.

Now, at last, we are both grown-ups

who are learning to walk without stumbling.

After a mile’s circle, we look up at the old house again.

The new people have learned to string the Christmas lights

up and up and up the split rail fence

for its full sixth-of-a-mile stretch.

You laugh and give me the look.

All right, then. A tenth of a mile.

We tell stories of shoveling that godforsaken

driveway, the snow breaking my back,

your nose dripping like a fountain.

Funny how you can miss something

that was so much work.

I miss you,

the wonder and worry of you,

the work of washing, drying, folding,

the waking up production of our mornings,

the wee-hour-waiting for you.

But most of all, I miss our walk,

when the neighbors were long asleep,

when the work was done,

when all that was left of the day was the moon and the stars

and the beers in the backpack.

Laurie Holding lives in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Several of her poems have placed or won in Writer’s Digest Annual Poetry Contest, the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, Goodreads Poetry Forum, and Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. She is planning on a chapbook release, Sonnets and Their Shadows, in 2023. Holding is the author of two children’s books, Tyrion’s Tale and Tyrion’s Town. She released her first novel, Planted on Perry Street, in 2021.

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