Mailman Rachel

June 13, 2020  :: 0 comments

I can’t think of a better job. I’m the third-generation mailman in my family. We call ourselves “mailmen” and won’t change that term no way, no how. Grandpop worked in Germantown, Daddy worked in Bucks County, and me, the only girl, I work in Huntingdon Valley, PA. Lordy, Lordy. What a gorgeous area that is. Would you believe I’ve been …

EVERYTHING LIVES FOREVER ON MY REFRIGERATOR MUSEUM DOOR

featured in the poetry forum May 17, 2020  :: 0 comments

Thanks Carole and Gregory for the postcard from Havana.
The turquoise Olds stutters down the boulevard. Only
old men govern in Cuba. Literacy is high, as the Castros
and Company, torture and lock away the folks of good will.

Shirley Sanders, white-haired like me, and slender in her blue top and
shorts,
looks like a million dollars as her early-onset Alzheimer’s takes away
everything, every single thing, except her bones.

I laugh. A famous artist Robert Whitley shown with his massive throne-like
wooden chair, stabbed his wife. Rage on, Bob, but remember, thou shalt
not kill.

Janis Joplin and Marvin Gaye reign on the bottom half of the fridge.
Their photos
from the stamps that went out years ago. Ain’t no mountain high enough
to keep
Marvin’s daddy from shooting him or Janis from shooting the big H.

A pair of legs stride across the fridge, purty legs like Rita Hayworth
or Lana Turner, as I open the fridge door and pick out a big shiny
Red Apple.

editors note:

What’s going on in YOUR museum? – mh clay

They’ve All Passed On

February 22, 2020  :: 0 comments

The Reedman house had been empty since the old man died. He and his wife June fell in love with it when it was part of Land Tract No. 19. He continued with his welding job, a strong man with a stubbly beard helping build ships at the Navy Yard. Then June starting coughing. The walls of their bungalow rang …

THE NIGHT REFRIGERATOR

featured in the poetry forum December 14, 2019  :: 0 comments

Dedicated to my children, Sarah and Daniel, who bought me my new refrigerator on the occasion of my birthday on December 25, 2009.

Shhhh.
All is still and dark
and I have awoken
from dreamless sleep
and come to the dark kitchen
for water.

The refrigerator is new
brought in on a red dolly
by a man who turned corners
carefully and wheeled
it in like a newborn
in a carriage.

Alone in the night
in the dark kitchen
I hear the sounds of the night.
Is that a moon outside
casting its brightness
onto my table to make it shine?

And I
the recipient of brightness
in my dark kitchen
find by careful fingering
a glass
sparkling streakless squeaky
from the dishwasher,
we are modern people,
and no longer go to the well,
but in the dark,
place my glass just so,
pushing the rubber udder
of the water dispenser
on the outside,
and listen
for the fullness of the
glass,

Then, turning round,
listen for the sounds
of the night
no birds, no winds,
no squirrels scurrying on the branch

The hum of the refrigerator is all I hear,
and heat pumping up from the basement,
we no longer live by campfire
or hear wolves howling in the distant hills,
these are the sounds of a quiet home,
more windows than wood,

Gulping:
the first thing we do,
and the last.

editors note:

Our first and last; no different than those tales we heard from the lives of the pioneers. – mh clay

Gwen Ifill Is Dead

December 3, 2019  :: 0 comments

It was one of those lazy November days, the sky was a blah grey, with an impenetrable fuzzy blanket across the sky. I pulled into the driveway of my condo, just in time to find something to eat and watch the PBS Evening News. My late husband inculcated the importance of this in me, and it was now my duty …

A Quiet Thanksgiving

April 7, 2019  :: 0 comments

She was an old woman now. The crime her son Aaron committed was on her mind every day. And why shouldn’t it be? He had killed his wife and was serving a forty-year sentence in Chino Men’s Prison just south of Los Angeles. Her husband, God bless him, had left her plenty of money. Sitting at her cluttered dining room …

STANDING UNDER THE STARS IN HELENE’S BOOTS

featured in the poetry forum February 25, 2019  :: 0 comments

Are they really that far away?
Seems like I could stretch
my arms and scoop a handful
to play with or sleep with
in my lonely bed.

Who knows? Perhaps if I do
I would ignite and you’d see
me no more.

Or my house would light up
like the manger and we’d all
be born again, given a second chance.

editors note:

Each star shines salvation for a sinner somewhere. Find yours. – mh clay

Riding the Roads

December 23, 2018  :: 0 comments

My ex-husband and I bought a used Winnebago for $111,000. A doctor of jurisprudence, Michael had never gotten over me. The feeling was not mutual. Now in our sixties, I felt sorry for the man. His third wife, Nedra, had died. He’d made widows of every single woman he’d married or dated. He was always a terrible driver, even when …

KING OSCAR WILD CAUGHT SARDINES IN EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

featured in the poetry forum December 1, 2018  :: 0 comments

Starving, I wolf down many layered sardines
bathed in olive oil.

The King’s picture is on the papery cover
that rattles invitingly to my touch.

King Oscar would protect you from every threat
imaginable. Hordes of barbarians, with

Spears aloft. Floods on mountain-sides
that seek to squoosh us alive.

Thunderbolts of Zeus that
would sizzle our skin.

Such a hero is the King.
Broad shoulders with

Epaulets like ship
Masts.

Moustaches that sweep downward
A full beard like a roaring furnace.

He is our man.
The Good King Oscar.

editors note: Sardine salvation. Stock up for the apocalypse! (Canned ekphrasis? Uncanny! – check it out here.) – mh clay

Donald Peterson

September 22, 2018  :: 0 comments

There was a long stopover from the American Airlines flight from Seattle to Cleveland. She wore a loose fitting dress with tiny birds seeming to fly off into the distance. Lucy disembarked with old carryon baggage coming apart at the seams. She made sure her name was visible on the small plastic card as she lugged it to the nearest …