Category Archives: Poetry

WHAT I FORGOT TO SAY

What I forgot to say

was that you were right.
The coldest day of the year is not the time
to bring home a puppy, but we did it, again.

Your advice is not so much ignored
as it is remembered inconveniently late in irrevocable situations.
This makes it prophecy of the awkward Cassandra type,
or the kind that you can only read in the bird’s entrails after it stops twitching.

You have been right, all along,

that I dream of being at the end of stacks of laundry or grading or dishes
as if they were dreams of falling from a great height where it is important to wake up
before discovering a blank surface

that there are mornings when I do not recognize the curve of my husband’s back
turned away from me in the sun slicing through the curtain
and days when I forget the color of my own eyes

that the memory of the well-loved dead is a phantom hand, long amputated,
still holding a remembered glass of wine which I absent-mindedly bring to my lips

far too often.

Listen, what I forgot to say—
there is an immature downy woodpecker
in the small woods where the dog and I walk.
I have seen him creeping down the side of the dead tree,
head cocked, listening for life beneath the bark.

Yesterday, we stopped for the booming thwock of bird skull against wood,
she on point, and I scanning for a flash of red against the gray sky, the dark gray trees.
The clamor came from nowhere and everywhere,
but we found the bird hiding in its own echo.

about the author
Amy Drees misses her last real writer’s group that met in Piqua, Ohio, many years ago. She now teaches constantly, and writes infrequently in the colder, flatter north of the state.

SOOT

When the demo crew went to work
on the burnt-out building,
the scent of soot was released
upon Main Street like spores,
reminding drivers-by of
a century of bones between brick walls.

The soot held the sweat of the pawn shop
owner, waking, haunted by
stories in his storefront below.
The fur of twelve cats fed that one last
time by the body of the old lady herself.
The spit of a black couple evicted
for walking too hard on their own floors.
The cigarette smoke, burnt toast
smack grit, Aqua Net,
Pine-Sol, Love’s Baby Soft,
bong smoke, bacon grease.

Trucks smashed and rumbled heaps into
other trucks that rumbled it all away
to where I don’t know, but soot
lingers there awaiting scrubbing
and a second chance at
holding somethings together.

about the author
A lifelong Ohioan, Kerry Trautman is a founder/admin of ToledoPoet.com and The Toledo Poetry Museum page on Facebook. She participates in events such as Artomatic 419, Back To Jack, and The Columbus Arts Festival, and she is a poetry editor for Red Fez. Her work has appeared previously in Mock Turtle Zine, as well as in Midwestern GothicAlimentum, The Coe Review, and several other journals and anthologies. Her chapbook To Have Hoped is available from Finishing Line Press. Her chapbook Artifacts, is forthcoming from NightBallet Press in 2017.

DAILY

Daily, I twist a valve and let my serotonin flow out onto the floor, an emotional biohazard.
Daily, I brush my teeth but refuse to make eye contact with the foaming rictus in the mirror.
Daily, I take an obscenely cold shower and stand in the jets until I feel completely numb.
Daily, I’ll drive into town, my consumer therapy, and buy something outlandish.
Daily, I water the rosemary on my window sill and feel tired.
Every morning, I wake up to a new ceiling.

about the author
Andrew Ellis is annoying, infuriating, agitating, provoking, engaging, encouraging, and all the things that make a person interesting. His work has appeared in TeenInk, Common Threads, and Ink, Sweat, & Tears (forthcoming). His photography has appeared in Photographer’s Forum. He lives in Ohio, and survives primarily off of Mountain Dew and peanut butter M&Ms.

SISTER

Sister, there’s a song in the pipes.
The discordant whistling that sings of aeons forgotten.
Can’t you hear the Breath?

Sister, they’ve always been with us.
The words of those that came before, dead but lingering still.
Can you feel their Presence?

Sister, they’ll never go away.
The ghosts of a past uncertain playing out what was.
Now you can see Them.

The future is unwritten.
We still have the choice.
The choice of the words we’ll leave behind,
The lingering song of the future’s past.

about the author
Colleen Freeze is a junior at Kettering Fairmont High School, and an editor of the school’s literary magazine, Aerie. She has had poems published in that publication two of the last three years, and hopes to do so again in her final year at Fairmont.

ARTISTS’ BLOCK

When I’m unable
to make a piece
that matches my own expectations

I bang my head
against a wall
loathing the awful creation

I’ll hate my life
and want to die
and think that all my skills suck

my canvas amounts
to nothing more
than an ugly pile of muck

I leave the room
determined to quit
when suddenly creativity ignites

I rush back in
only to find
my paintbrush has vanished from sight

about the author
Gemma Miller is a fifteen-year-old home-schooler in the ninth grade. Though most of her time goes to schoolwork, making art, and writing, she also enjoys playing piano, acting, reading, watching movies, and staying organized.

FORECLOSURE

Turning out. Over. Leaving. A turning
of the back. An act
of take-back, basementless
bungalow, base, off-base,
debased, dis-
respected. Scrubbed
clean of it, abrupt
finality, an exhale into cardboard boxes
flimsy as its timbers
and blocks left, her life, the body,
where she sat, the porch
where her kids sat. Anything
within reach, the line
of sun-dust piercing
the window, drilling into a heart
late afternoons in winter. Smallest
trinket, a spoon, the thin coating stuffed
into a grudging trunk, a greedy feeding
of a small expanse, every
floor-inch possessed, spilling onto seats
visible as an urging,
like a laden donkey on a long trek,
pots, pans, photos,
tied with rope. Stuffing,
stuffing it all under the tarp-
shroud. It is that easy.
A lifting like petals releasing
the stalk, floating to the ground
on a windless day, the point
in the music when,
just seconds ago you thought
you still heard it, but now
you’re not sure.

about the author
Grace Curtis’ book, The Shape of a Box, was published in 2014 by Dos Madres Press. Her chapbook, The Surly Bonds of Earth, was the 2010 winner of the Lettre Sauvage chapbook contest. Her work is in Sou’wester, The Baltimore Review, Waccamaw Literary Journal, Blood Orange Review, and others. www.gracecurtispoetry.com.

APRIL HAIKU

White porcelain skull
A paperweight for the damned
Fragile as a tooth

about the author
Rebecca Griswold was born in Omaha, Nebraska, but grew up in equal parts Scarborough, Maine and Cincinnati, Ohio. She was raised with a deep-rooted appreciation for poetry because of her family tree. After graduating from The University of Cincinnati, she spent years as an instructor before opening and operating an art studio in Cincinnati alongside her husband. Her work has appeared in Milk Money Magazine.