Frozen

Emalyn Sharp

There’s laundry in the dryer,
A wine glass in the sink.
Dirt is caked to the floor,
The computer screensaver blinks.

The dishwasher is half full,
A towel hangs on the bathroom door. 
A pretzel jar sits by the desk, 
Waiting for you to take some more. 

There’s a razor on the bathroom counter,
A get-well card fixed to the wall. 
Jacket tossed over the arm of a chair,
Your phone lights up: another missed call. 

Events still marked on your calendar
Appointments you can no longer keep.
The days that were all crossed off,
Stopped sometime last week. 

It’s all just how you left it,
But now there’s silence in the air. 
The life’s been drained out,
It feels so wrong without you there.

Frozen in waiting, the place will never change. 
The hospital records cannot be erased.
It’s now just a house — no longer a home,
and the laundry in the dryer will forever sit alone.

Antidote

Emalyn Sharp

It was a very long walk
Exhausted, I barely had the strength to stand
I wanted something to lean upon
So I took a nearby stick in my hand
I was playing a game
I thought I’d have a little fun
The stick turned into a snake 
I didn’t have the sense to run
I wouldn’t drop it
I let it coil around my arm
It was dangerous
Intent on causing harm

The snake opened up his mouth
Then dug his fangs into my heart
the pain spread through my bloodstream
this was just the start

The paralysis set in
help would come too late
My vision had been blurred
I contemplated my fate
Actions all have consequences
Innocent as they may seem
That’s the last thing I thought of 
I slipped into a psychotic dream
My life was swelling up
I could hardly breathe
I had let the snake sweep me 
right off of my feet

I was addicted to the venom
It was hard to survive
The beady eyes that destroyed me
Also kept me alive

The medics found my body
Revived it from the fall
Made an antidote from the poison
The snake hid from us all
Gone but not forgotten
I writhe in pain at night
The memories of the cool scales
The pain of the sharp bite
The subtle hiss of promises
That never meant a thing
Wrapped around my throat
I still feel the sting

The cure is common 
No one need suffer
If only it worked that way
There is always another

Sober

Delilah Scrudato

I just want to go to sleep.
fall out and not breathe.
I don’t want to live another day.
How did I come to feel this way?
My disease started it all.
The first time I picked up, I started to fall.
But now that I’m sober
I see my life’s not over.
I’m starting a new beginning.
Now I’m not just breathing, I’m living.

Like So Many Meadows

Fabrice Poussin

The old man of barely five feet died under the cask
falling to a war he could no longer win
he shed a tear as he recalled when he was
a warrior in the trenches meant for graves.

There was a truce in his heart when he gave up
his body shaken by the sharp cut of a rifle and
everything came to a stop as he collapsed
too young then to comprehend the shock.

Sometime in the middle of this existence
a pilgrim to the field he remembered the sounds
canons screaming in agony, men exploding like shrapnel
and he knelt near the grave never completely filled.

Eyes closed he saw generations
across millennia, come to the same land
and the ground trembled with ghosts
under the uniforms of this world.

Now a lawn large as a country, grows manicured
nourished by the blood of comrades
if only they could join hands, forces
to plead in unison for another day with their kin.

Long ago, thundering creations turned to stone
and will again once another madness subsides;
for now, the old soldier sleeps in his tomb
holding onto this moment of peace.

Saturday Pastime

Fabrice Poussin

Daddy looks in the mirror to see
the image of every late Saturday night
puffy eyes, some darkened blueish areas around
and surely a rich iron red paste upon his lip.

Week past, it was a broken nose
a mouthful of a taste he could not recognize
bruised ribs and a scraped knee
but when did he fall?

His pockets full of cash he would have smiled
had the pain been what he knew
only it was a new encounter this time
with a shaking to make him feel old.

Another weekend on its way
at a great distance from the cubicle
where he spoke of lifetimes with strangers,
made promises rehearsed like a horrible tragedy.

The little girl never knew why he cried when she hugged
the massive frame of her personal giant
her tender curls pressing upon his cheeks
all she could see was a grin in the warmth of his heart.

Tomorrow they will hasten to their private place
pray for a future she will relish
explore the park hand in hand
common, lost in the society of simple lives.

But first he will rest comforted by her puerile caress
mother for an instant to the wounded hero
nurturer to a father without hope
unlikely savior, she knows to kiss his mighty brow.

Infant in this tortured city, touched
by the vertigo of his lost senses
the nightmares have vanished within her puny palms
and he feels himself floating in her secret heaven.

If They Knew of Pompeii

Fabrice Poussin

Among forgotten hieroglyphic treasures
scattered on floors of ancient stone, sealed with
the sweat of enslaved workers under the whip
they too are buried with invincible pharaohs.

Tall above the modern dwellers, a Parthenon
resists winds so strong Socrates had to die
its marble like ice for so many visitors
on a photographic pilgrimage for their elders.

Forsaken by centuries of death and dust
an arena where last breaths entertained
stands as a testimony to what may have been,
a successor to great dynasties.

The explorer may walk the distance of a great wall
pondering such a structure into deep space
contemplate the far away plains
where no intruder dares to venture any more.

High above the sea they thought of an Eldorado
the safety of a gilded empire in mysterious clothes
sacrificed the innocent to appease the Gods
high priests, would-be masters of another sun.

A tower of steel still stands on its supposed graveyard
it overlooks fields which saw too many sudden ends
for well-meaning citizens on a quest for a new freedom
upon a promising summer for simple joys. 

They sleep now, these monsters with signatures
carved profound like incurable scars on the souls of the meek;
it is good to remain quiet, to listen to the breeze
for all is finally still now above the memory of the oppressed.

Christmas Log

Fabrice Poussin

Dreams are strange for the young boy
when time seems to move at leisure
upon another Christmas in the land.

It will be warm in the stranger’s house
so tall with the wisdom of ages
at the end of a day almost too cruel.

But he awaits with open arms
with the kin he gently nurtures
for it is the grandest day yet.

There will be a meal of hours
laughter, smiles, endless embraces
a game of cards open to all.

Decades have melted into the ground
souls gone and new ones come
leaving just a taste of time behind.

The girl has labored with child’s care
to mix the saintly nectars of this precious hour
made magic for all eyes to feast.

Wooden log for the hearth
now a grandiose desert for the wealthy
an eternal world in chocolate grooves

Light Switch

Madeleine Park Hager

I remember you
in contradictions that
part my chest

Ribs turn in to
knives and I
am bleeding memories of you

The tattoos left behind by your lips
form an inky shadow that follows me
under the weak light of dusk

I lift up a trembling hand to
turn off the light, then remember that
I’m afraid of the dark, without you.

The Law of Gravity

Madeleine Park Hager

A heart
that falls in love
must also
fall out.
this

is the law of the heart;
unbreakable
yet we create our own prison
trapped by walls
made of memories

a purgatory
where time moves backwards
and all we can see
is the precious time we had,
dying.

Feeding the Sea

Madeline Park Hager

Your tears feed
the ocean and
sculpt its waves.
Cry, let the sea
hear the droplets fall
from your eyes
as they become part
of something bigger
than they ever imagined