featured in the poetry forum April 24, 2019  :: 0 comments

I had no real desire to follow rules,
just never much chance to break them.
I drank whatever the soccer girls handed me,
made a mental list of things to do
after they taught me Never Have I Ever
and I didn’t lose a single round.

Warm-bellied and dizzy, I ambled arm-in-arm
through the house with my most sharp-tongued teammate,
now cheerful and open to suggestion.
Together, we recited the Ten Commandments
from a plaque on the wall,
laughter breaking every Thou shalt not.

On the back porch, the goalkeeper told me stories:
other sins, other parentless nights.
Her voice, so powerful during games,
was hushed and sweet. She tried
to blow smoke rings with a cigar.
I watched each lazy U
dissipate in the porch light.
She asked, Can you keep secrets?
and I swore I could.

editors note:

Yes! Here’s to living through the whole list. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum January 31, 2018  :: 0 comments

the eye takes in
a mess and the brain
tidies up
assesses threat
knows instantly
the angle of the mouth
that means violence

we are born
to identify faces
mimic a smile
win favor
from our loved ones

more than a trick
of the light
more than survival
or psychosis
ancient mechanism
in a modern world sees
a sly grin
in the grill of a car
Jesus on toast

you look in the mirror
you look at a painting
a mountain a cloud
your mother
recognize yourself
your self

editors note:

More on what we see; the random pieces we pick to define what we are. – mh clay

Who Loved These Gardens

featured in the poetry forum December 12, 2016  :: 0 comments

You hold my hand as we walk through Kew Gardens
(it is morning, this is London) and we laugh at how
it’s pronounced like the letter Q and I think
that things are not as phonetic as they seem.

It is morning (and London)
and you are wearing your new shoes
and I am wearing my new coat
(we bought these things in hopes they would last),

and as we walk, we read the benches.

Mary Hunt
Set free to enjoy the
bluebells forever

I think about how people choose their place,
how they make homes of swans to feed and paths lined with daffodils

and it occurs to me that my place—
my place is wherever
your here is.

We are young (and this is London)
(good morning) and I am thinking of tomorrow and
tomorrow and (I’m sorry)

and the daffodils and benches
(I’d like our initials and an ampersand
or nothing at all).

editors note:

Wherever your love is planted, there will your garden be; & or nothing. – mh clay

Thanks for Lunch

featured in the poetry forum March 20, 2016  :: 0 comments

I remember you always paid for me
in cash, every time, untraceable, clean.
You bought my lunch that day, and several beers
you drank like water. It had been a year
since I’d seen you. You were just the same —
your crooked smile, your dirty charm, unchanged.
I can’t recall which lie I told that day
to see you, but I remember I prayed
we wouldn’t run into someone I knew
who’d want to know just why I was with you,
across the table leaning on elbows
and laughing. After a year it still showed.
You looked at me like you thought I’d taste good,
like you’d find out if you could,
if I’d let you, if I could forget her
long enough for these things to occur,
these things you said had never left your mind.
You never liked her, said she was unkind,
said you could treat me the way I deserved.
That day, with you, I was looking to swerve.
I let you kiss me in the parking lot
like it didn’t matter if we got caught.

editors note:

Forbidden love; a secret desire to be caught in the act. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum January 14, 2015  :: 0 comments

I learned to cradle
my body in my own arms,
to keep my distance,
stifle yawns and sneezes.
I never knew my ribs were involved
in every movement until they hurt,
until she decided the best way
to my heart would be straight
through my chest.

She told me once she heard it snap.
She said this like my rib breaking
was something that just happened,
like I could have prevented it
if I had been less fragile, if I’d answered
her knocking on my sternum
by opening my ribcage like a door
and inviting her inside.

I don’t remember how it happened.
My mind misplaces things sometimes.
What I remember is leaving,
reaching for my seatbelt, the sudden,
absolute pain that emptied me
of thought and breath, driving myself home.

I stood shirtless in front of my bathroom mirror,
studied the layers of bruises on my collarbones:
sick yellow, deep
crimson, throbbing purple.
I counted her teeth in them.

editors note:

An open door policy gone wrong. (We welcome Logen to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh

Without Moral

featured in the poetry forum August 14, 2014  :: 0 comments

baby, the sky is falling, she says
the sky is falling.

but we are no children’s story –
we have no simple rhymes,
no happy ending.

good does not triumph over evil here.

we are a painstaking post-modern novel,
plot twists wrenched like our hearts,
turned carefully
to move only
in reverse.

I don’t know just how to tell her –

that the sky is not falling.

the sky is not

I am reaching up with my hands
(yes, those hands,
those slender and
obedient fingers) –

baby, do you hear me?
the sky is not


I’m tearing it down.

editors note:

No chicken little here; rather a superhero to reconstruct reality. Take her hand! – mh

I Don’t Like Onions

featured in the poetry forum May 22, 2014  :: 0 comments

The scar goes from here to here, she says,
pulling down her shirt at the neck
to show us where they opened her chest,
removed something with an unpronounceable name,
and closed her back up again.

One clavicle will always be higher than the other, she says.

They put me back together crooked.

I look from her uneven bones
down to the sandwich she made for me

and I don’t taste the onions.

editors note:

Unwilling to offend, the empathic altruist eats. – mh