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Poetry Summer 2019
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Cover Antoine Petitteville

Laura Apol
Easter Morning
& other poems

Taylor Dibble
A Masterpiece in Progress
& other poems

Julia Roth
Lessons From My Menstrual Cup
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Ceaseless Wind. The Drying Sheaves
& other poems

Nicole Yackley
Mea Culpa
& other poems

George Longenecker
I’m sentimental for the Paleolithic
& other poems

Taylor Gardner
Short Observations by Angels
& other poems

Greg Tuleja
No Thomas Hardy
& other poems

Joanne Monte
War Casualties
& other poems

Nathaniel Cairney
Potato Harvest
& other poems

Steven Dale Davison
Wordsmouth Harbor Founder
& other poems

Heather 'Byrd' Roberts
How I Named Her
& other poems

sunny ex
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
Through the Valley of Mount Chimaera
& other poems

Linda Speckhals
& other poems

Lucy Griffith
Breathing Room
& other poems

Steven Valentine
& other poems

Emily Varvel
B is for Boys and G is for Guys
& other poems

Jhazalyn Prince
Priceless Body
& other poems

Marte Stuart
Generation Snowflake
& other poems

S.J. Enloe
Kale Soup
& other poems

Meghan Dunsmuir
Our Path
& other poems

Writer's Site

Lucy Griffith

Breathing Room

Holiday Inn, Corpus Christi

One of those Spring Breaks

too chilly for the ocean,

I meet her in the hot tub,

her swimsuit ruffled in blue-gray.

I’m Sophie!

I’m five!

Her babysitter—doing her nails nearby.

We play with bubbles in the water,

I learn more about Mommy’s boyfriend

than I ought to know,

retire to my deck chair

with Conroy’s Prince of Tides.

“Somebody, HELP!”

Babysitter shrieks, stricken,

dangles Sophie by one foot,

blue as her suit, limp as a bag of laundry.

Red letters neon my mind.


I yell “Call 911” slide in to her side.


“Lay her down, I’ve got her”


No need to check,

her heart thunders under my hand.

I tilt her head


pinch her nose. Cover and


Her jaw is clenched,

I try the jaw-thrust,

still clamped.

I wedge my knuckle

behind her teeth,

twist, her mouth pops open.


Pinch, cover, blow.

Two rescue breaths—

cough, splutter, the welcome spill of

warm water.

Her eyes fluttering, glorious,

before a mighty wail.

Her mom appears beside me, reaching—

I unfold Sophie into guilty arms.

Wander, back to my book,

craving a bourbon and branch.

Later, the first responder

chides “You could have lost a finger doing that!”

I don’t care.

I put the sun back in Sophie’s sky.

The Art of Goodbyes

Life, after all, does not take death for an answer.
Donald Culross Peattie

Plenty of practice—this art of goodbyes.

Two babies, two breasts,

a starter marriage to a wounded boy.

Both parents, all the aunties and uncles,

a sister so close.

I know to sit behind the baby at the service.

Babies are circles.

And the officiant, I know the exact tone of voice

when eulogy turns to commercial.

I know to cry as much as I must.

Afterwards, I know to look for the hawk

circling the cowboy’s grave, the hummer

at my shoulder, and later—shooting stars.

I know how much chardonnay to have on hand,

how many candles to light, to put the Bach on long and slow.

I know how to write build sing and story my way through,

how to fasten my despair to the earth.

I hold that grief is another way of loving.

I know to follow those spiral steps,

that heartache is a hologram.

That the second year

can bring you to your knees, and

decades later ambush with a sneak attack—

the heart has a long attention span.

The great gears spin on.

Even though

for my daughter

my ashes are spread

on the cliff by Sister’s bench,

mingling with her, and

your childhood pup,

perhaps a few choice bits of me

hauled off by harvester ants,

down their grassy highway,

secured in a pebble cave.

Even though

I am gone,

you will know me near—

when a wren lands on your knee.

When you start waking early

to watch the world make a morning.

When the asparagus

thrust their tender heads

into April’s warmth.

Even though

I am not here,

to hold you,

to brush your hair,

give it a trim,

auburn curls on the front steps,

I am murmuring—

get your whole story out.

Don’t let anyone shush you.

I am reminding,

perfection is overrated,

a nap is a balm.

Hear my voice.

Take a walk.

Put flowers in a jar.

Sit in the river,

let it run through you.

Eat cookies, watch the moon rise.


My belly boiling with blood,

I lie in the ER.

A nurse with Maria sewn in blue script

on her white coat,

takes one look at me—drops her charts.

She thinks my tears are fear—

the long shine of needle

in the doctor’s hand.

She doesn’t know what I know,

I will never have a child.

She twines her arm in mine

leaning close to hide

the man in the baby-blue hat

between my knees

with his sword.

Eyes of caramel never leave mine:

I’m taking you on a picnic.

Like a song, she narrates a

trip to the beach, the feel of the sand,

lap of the waves,

sandwiches of ham and cheese.

My ears fill with tears.

I don’t remember the feel of the needle,

I remember the taste of ham and cheese.

Lucy Griffith is happiest on a tractor named Mabel (a muse of 55 horsepower) and lives on a ranch beside the Guadalupe River near Comfort, Texas. Her first collection, We Make a Tiny Herd, was published by Main Street Rag as a finalist in their poetry book contest. She co-edited Echoes of the Cordillera: Attitudes and Latitudes Along the Great Divide. She won the Returning Contributor Award in Poetry for the 2019 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

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