A Poem by Nancy Shiffrin

my car is
spinning spinning spinning
my head knocking back and forth
I seem to wake
in a freezing room
on a cold steel cot
the mattress hard
I am swathed in white gauze
blood rushing from between my legs
stains the green walls

if the room could speak
if the mattress groaned
if the white gauze were a shroud
if babes could come from the rushing blood
if the green walls were a field
I could rest here
but a finger points
a Voice says return
a crash stops the spinning
rescuers bang   the door opens
neighbors applaud
my stumbling walk to the curb

the Dear Friend appears
with a basket of grapes
I might never emerge
from this spinning car
my brain might always be bruised
yet I am grateful
for a bottle of water
strong arms
a blanket to nest in
a tree to call home

NANCY SHIFFRIN earned her Master of Arts degree in English studying with
Anais Nin.  She earned her PhD at The Union Institute studying
Jewish-American women authors.  Her writing has appeared in the Los
Angeles Times, New York Quarterly, Earth's Daughters, Lummox Journal,
The Canadian Jewish Outlook, A Cafe in Space, Religion and Literature,
Shofar, and numerous other publications.  She has received
awards and honorable mentions from The Academy of American Poets, The
Poetry Society of America, The Dora Teitelboim Foundation.

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Nine Stages of Grief

A Poem by Larry Thacker

Sense a heavy drop in the belly and chest
as you’re rousted from sleep by long rings
of the phone at 2:38 in the morning.

Pull everything out of the closet, in search 
of a potential suit for the funeral. Stare at it stacked
on the bed. Wonder how much should just be
bagged up now to save time later.

Question dream fragments as missed, foreboding
clues from the Universe you might have understood
were you more spiritually savvy.

Take out a dozen magazine subscriptions
with the urge to have something nice arriving
in the mail every day.

Page through books in the library. They would have
left behind a note, surely. Some explanation
of sorts, riddled, perhaps. In a favorite book
of poems. Yes. Try that.

Ask your best friend who that psychic was she used
that one time that she loved so much.

Wanting to write a book. Any book.
Just a fucking book. Before you die.
Because isn’t there a hint of immortality
in the writing of it? Not finishing, but
the writing you’d think, right?

Pray for rain every evening, knowing it rarely comes,
but knowing when you’re right it’s like an answered gift.
Then check the rain bucket under the gutter drain
each morning in case it rained and you missed it.

Dig in the garden. Hoping
you never find anything digging back.

Larry Thacker’s poetry is in over one-hundred-and-fifty publications including Spillway, Still: The Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, American Journal of Poetry, Poetry South, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Mojave River Review, The Lake, Illuminations Literary Magazine, and Appalachian Heritage.His books include Mountain Mysteries, and the poetry books, Drifting in Awe, Voice Hunting, Memory Train, and the forthcoming full collections, Feasts of Evasion and Grave Robber Confessional. His MFA in poetry and fiction is earned from West Virginia Wesleyan College. Visit his website at: www.larrydthacker.com

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