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Poetry  4  Spring  2023



Empty Boxes

        by Barbara Brooks 


I used a lot of empty boxes from the ABC store to vacate one

house into another.  They were just the right size for me to carry,

couldn’t make them too heavy for lifting.  I had some orange

plastic milk crates that were perfect for all my poetry files.


I was downsizing my house, kept all the bird books,

Mary Oliver, signed copies, the ones friends had written. 

Gave the rest to the library in hopes of updating their collection. 

I think they used them in the library book sale.


Some boxes had dividers which made them good for moving

small knick-knacks like the Hummel collection and artwork.

Used pages from “The Independent” for wrapping. Gradually,

the stack on the hearth became the line along the new living room wall.


The last became first: unpacked the bathroom and then the kitchen.

Next followed the books because I knew where they would go.

Slowly, the line along the wall dwindled to one box of items

I could not let go of like the picture of us at the Hotel Peabody opening.


Maybe it’s time to empty that box.


Bio: Barbara Brooks, author of “The Catbird Sang”, “A Shell to Return to the Sea”, “Water Colors” chapbooks, is a member of Poet Fools.  Her work has been accepted in Avalon Literary Review, Chagrin River Review, The Foundling Review, Blue Lake ReviewThird Wednesday, Peregrine, Tar River Poetry, Silkworm among others.



Sea or Dough

        by  Marianne Brems


The sea moves fully back after ships pass.

Branches return to their roost when winds calm.

With time, bones grow together after fracture.


The sun goes down in the west but rises in the east.

Dough goes into the oven but bread comes out.

What starts as an alphabet, turns into words.


When faced with decision,

or which way to go,

the rub is to know, is it sea or is it dough?


Bio:Marianne Brems is a writer of trade books, textbooks, short stories, and poetry. She has an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks from Finishing Line Press, the most recent, In Its Own Time, forthcoming in 2023. Her poems have also appeared in literary journals including The Pangolin Review, The Bluebird Word, The Sunlight Press, Remington Review, and Green Ink Poetry. She lives, cycles, and swims in Northern California. Website: www.mariannebrems.com.


Salad Days 

   by  Eira Needham


Wearing different masks for each  

of life's dressings, my boy lingers 

concealed within a man. 


I peer at pulled threads in his wrap, 

don’t relish to watch him  

nurse growing pains. 


I anoint his contusions, before  

he departs, carrying a slice of me


in his shirt pocket. 


Bio: Eira Needham is a retired teacher, living in Birmingham UK. She keeps leopard geckos and corn snakes as pets, which have been known to creep into a poem or two. Some of her poems can be found in West Ward Quarterly, where she has also been ‘Featured Writer’. She came first in Inter Board Poetry Contest with a sonnet and has recently been nominated for Sundress Publications, Best of the Net 2023.




              by  Vern Fein


As if she were a bird in disguise.

she looks like the woman I married,

maybe a different kind of a bird now—

not a blue bird but a partridge—

older now, feathers graying

she still sings much of the day.


It was song that won my heart

when she played her guitar

and I first noticed her beauty,

her smile and her voice.

She usually sings in our kitchen now,

but songs all around the house

day and night, personal vespers

burst out with all the lyrics.


Saying she is a bit absent-minded

which indeed is true, a family chuckle,

she impeccably remembers all the lyrics

of those songs to me, our children, and God

which spring forth like bird rituals. 


Now in old age, she still sings,

even as we read side by side.


I expect she will sing at her own funeral

before she nests and warbles forever.


Bio: Having started writing a few years back, Vern Fein, a recent octogenarian, has published over 250 poems on over 100 different sites. His first poetry book- I WAS YOUNG AND THOUGHT IT WOULD CHANGE- was published last year and he is currently close to his second book. He does not have a personal muse. His muse is the entire world of poetry.




       by Kenneth Pobo


The Easy Money box spills all over the floor, 

cash a small wave on linoleum. 


Despite the cracked board, we play.

As usual, you win easily,

banker Potter in It’s A Wonderful Life

foreclosing on the whole town.  I prefer

“cheap” rentals such as Dover Road.

You go for Associated Airways. 


I like one ritzy property--Majestic Theatre. 

I picture myself there on

a rainy Sunday afternoon

watching Barbara Stanwyck

walk down the stairs

in a gold anklet. 


We return the game to the top shelf. 


Morning brings toast with lemon curd. 

Cars pull out by 8:00. 

No easy money. 


Bio: Kenneth Pobo (he/him) is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections.  Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), Lilac And Sawdust (Meadowlark Press), Lavender Fire, Lavender Rose (BrickHouse Books), and Gold Bracelet in a Cave: Aunt Stokesia (Ethel Press).