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Poetry Summer 2018    fiction    all issues

Poetry Cover Summer 2018


Cover Michael Lønfeldt

Carol Lischau
& other poems

Noreen Ellis
Jesus Measured
& other poems

Amanda Moore
Learning to Surf
& other poems

Adin Zeviel Leavitt
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
Stay a Minute, the Light is Beautiful
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
The Wellfleet Oyster
& other poems

Anna Hernandez-French
Watermelon Love
& other poems

J. L. Grothe
Six Pregnancies
& other poems

Sue Fagalde Lick
Beauty Confesses
& other poems

Abby Johnson
Finding Yourself on Google Maps
& other poems

Marisa Silva-Dunbar
& other poems

Merre Larkin
Sensing June
& other poems

Savannah Grant
& other poems

Andrew Kuhn
Plains Weather
& other poems

Catherine Wald
Against Aubade
& other poems

Joe Couillard
Like New Houses Settling
& other poems

Faleeha Hassan
In Nights of War
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
Thelma: ii
& other poems

Sarah Louise
& other poems

Kimberly Russo
Inherent Injustice
& other poems

Frannie Deckas
Child for Sale
& other poems

Jacqueline Schaalje
& other poems

Nancy Rakoczy
Her Face
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
& other poems

Writer's Site

Sue Fagalde Lick

Poor Girl’s Barbie

I dressed my doll in rags,

squares of black corduroy

fastened with giant blue stitches,

holes scissored out for the arms,

a pink cotton wrap-around skirt,

a snippet of net on her hair.

Though her legs didn’t bend,

she would dance like a dervish,

eyelids blinking like shutters,

cheeks smudged with dirt,

two fingers missing from when

my little brother kidnapped her.

Hinged at shoulders and hips,

she had breasts but no nipples,

no vulva, no hair down below,

just hard pink skin over which

her handmade dresses slipped

when she danced on her high-heeled toes.

She slept in a shoe box

on top of her tiny clothes,

wearing a flowered nightgown

made from an old flannel sleeve,

tiny gold teddy bear under her arm

so she wouldn’t be scared in the dark.

Fifty years later, I open the box.

There she lies with her teddy bear,

one arm up and one arm down,

eyes closed to the smell of age and rot.

Should I dress her and make her dance again

or close the lid and let her sleep?

Beauty Confesses

I’m the girl who dates the trolls,

the beauty who loves the beast,

the lamb who calms the bear.

Is it the glasses, the unpainted nails,

the tendency for pudgy thighs

or the broom that’s always in my hands?

Was it the dad who wouldn’t let me date

till all the artists and jocks were taken,

nothing left but the awkward ones?

I’ve dated the fat, the freaky,

the ones with bad teeth and breath,

the ones who couldn’t get it up.

I’ve been with the drunks, the druggies,

the paranoid and the cruel,

devils and men who prayed all day.

Only once, I had a prince.

Oh, how we danced, how we loved,

spinning in each other’s arms.

But the clock struck twelve, and he was gone.

I’m back in the woods with another troll,

a beast who says I’m beautiful.

No one has ever loved this beast.

I’ll stroke his fur, pat his ample belly

and slowly teach him how to dance.

Unlucky Purple Blazer Strikes Again

Help! My pantyhose are falling down.

Under the jacket, under the skirt, under the slip,

I can feel the waistband oozing south.

Please God, let it stop at my hipbone.

I need just one good upward tug,

but I can’t in front of the whole damned church.

If I just sit, it won’t move more,

but you know Catholics, sit, stand, kneel.

Okay. Reach in, grab some elastic, pull.

No, they’re still coming down. I have to sneeze.

I can’t reach my handkerchief, both hands

busy playing the “Lamb of God.”

Sweet Lord, it’s down to my navel now.

I pooch out my gut just to hold it there.

I almost overslept today. I thought

it was time to change the clock, but no,

at 3 a.m., I looked it up, discovered

it was 4. Fall back next Saturday, it said.

Oh God! It just slipped below my belly,

and now we’ve got to stand. Let us pray

sitting down for heaven’s sake. I reach my hand

between skirt and coat, yank it hard this time.

I think I pulled my underwear.

I need to tie these things around my neck.

Father just gave me a look.

He knows not what I’m going through

here at the grand piano.

Jesus never messed with pantyhose,

nor did the old male organists.

No heels, no hats, no skirts, no slips.

Next week I’m going back to slacks.

Next Stop: Convent

At 22, I was married

to a skinny man

with brown hair,


a liking for booze,

cigarettes, and ass

and a disliking,

apparently, for me.

The church said

it didn’t count


he didn’t want kids,

and being Catholic,

you have to want kids

or never

have sex.

At 29, I was not married

to a chubby man

with curly blond hair,


and a liking for Coke,

cruelty, and ass.

Yes he liked me

and he wanted kids,

but he wasn’t quite

divorced, so,

me being Catholic,

I drove away,


just bruised

thank God.

At 33, I married again,

to a burly man

with brown hair,


three kids,

and a liking for booze

and jazz, ass not so much.

But he loved me,

and he was kind,

also Protestant

and divorced,

so the church said

it didn’t count,

our wedding

by a pond

with geese

in the sun.

But anyway,

he died.

At 63, I live alone

with my yellow dog,

blonde hair, no glasses,

a liking for Milk-bones,

belly rubs and grass.

We’re both single.

The church


believes in fact,

I’ve never wed,

never loved,

never shared

a bed

with a brown-haired man

who liked booze,


or ass,

never rose


and pleasantly sore

with a hickey

on my neck.

But who am I

to argue

with God?

In the Garden with Jesus

We’re all sitting in the chapel.

Was it foggy that night?

No, it’s the incense wafting

from a bowl on a chain

(One year it set off the smoke alarm).

We’re supposed to be quiet now,

praying in the garden with Jesus.

The apostles all fell asleep.

I’m thinking if women were there,

we would have stayed awake.

Women would have wept with Him,

hugged Him and wiped his bloody sweat.

Maybe they were stuck in the upper room

doing the dishes and cleaning up,

not even invited to the garden.

Just focus on the crucifix.

As the smoke begins to clear

parishioners are sneaking out,

keys rattling, zippers zipping,

rain pattering on the roof.

I try to feel the nails shoved

through my fleshy hands and feet,

but Lord, I’m weak. My earrings hurt.

I would have screamed, “Bring me down!

You’re right. I am not God.

Just let me be a carpenter.”

I’m Mary watching blood drip on the dirt.

I’m Peter. “I don’t know the man.”

I’m all those guys who ran away.

I’m Thomas who didn’t quite believe.

So, Jesus on the cross.

Did he really wear a loincloth?

Did his toenails need a trim?

Is that a scar or a nick in the wood?

What color really was his skin?

Next to me, a Spanish man

sits erect, his eyes closed tight.

A woman kneels by the cross.

Lovely figure, snug-fit jeans.

Oh God, my mind, my mind.

Concentrate. Holy Thursday.

Jesus, God made man. Washed feet,

gave bread, prayed till Judas came,

died hard and rose again. Amen.

My stomach rumbles. Hungry.

Silence so deep it quivers.

White candles flickering.

Jesus up there, waiting

for me to hear his voice.

I shut my eyes. I try.

Sue Fagalde Lick returned to poetry after a long detour in the newspaper business and a better-late-than-never MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles. Her poems have appeared in The MacGuffin, Willawa, Cloudbank, New Letters, Tenemos, The American Journal of Poetry, Diode Poetry Journal, and other publications. When not writing, she leads an alternate life as a music minister in Newport, Oregon.

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