A Mediocre Vegetarian Remembers the Pleasures of Slow Cooker
Ownership from Her Childhood
Erin Renee Wahl
It is good to have a slow
cooker in the house.
I know my mother best,
throwing concoctions together
quickly in the early mornings
before yellow buses and goodbye
kisses. Three o’clock pickups
behind the elementary school
in the gravel parking lot or
waiting, shouting, crying,
riding the bus home with all
the kids I liked and all the kids
I didn’t like. And then, home,
and an odor that made my mouth
water like I was our old dog
Bart. The orange slow cooker
that mom and dad had been
given for their wedding,
perched heavy on the countertop,
piping hot and circulating currents
of moist air in and around the food
we could smell with our tongues.
The condensation on the glass lid
made me think of searing rainforests
in countries where monkeys and tree
frogs lived. Imagining myself on safari
under the slick glass dome, I paddled
my jungle canoe through the tomato
juice of the chili province, dodging
kidney beans and green bell peppers
as I went. Or sometimes, a mature
butterfly waiting quietly inside
the curve of a stuffed green
bell pepper for the sides
to split and, liberated, fly
spastically towards the open
sky, moist rice and ground beef
clinging still to my wings. And
just when I had imagined all I could
and my stomach started
to remember what the slow
cooker was really for, my mother
was there with a timer on
zero and a stack of bowls
to dish up my fantasies.
The Hungry Beetle
A tiny black beetle lives
and eats my memories.
First he ate the odd little things:
After those were gone he delved into
the stuff mom said and the songs I’ve heard.
having run out of a l l t h a t,
he has begun eating the memories of you:
seeing the rainbow dust float from your lips
on the weightless winds of a promise.
Hearing the blood leap through your heart
as quickly as a hope.
The parasitic beetle ate these things -
digested them and
Judith Manzoni Ward
Who was it that hacked into my dream
last night, dumped its contents,
and pushed in horrors not my own?
Not I to conjure images of parents
piling secret tortures on children
who twitch in their sleep
but remain silent
Not I in basement rooms where cousins
and cats and Alzheimer’s-ridden men
deposit wasp eggs on curtains
Not I who confronts a sibling
attempting murder on a body
I want my own dream back.
At first waking, its fragments still float
in the air above my head.
Dawn light fades it too fast
for my sleep-heavy eyelids.
The thought drawbridge clanks
This new day will be long.
The Hungry Beetle - Wes Sexton
Although non-fiction, creative or otherwise, has been Judith's focus in publications, poetry is a secret love that she feeds in bi-weekly meetings with Shoreline Cluster Poets of Madison, Ct. Check out her blog at: http://judithmanzoniward.blogspot.com/
John Repp's fourth full-length collection of poetry, Fat Jersey Blues, won the 2013 Akron Poetry Prize and was published by the University of Akron Press in February, 2014.
Erin Renee Wahl's work has appeared in Sterling and Meat for Tea. She was a guest contributor for the 49 Writers blog advising creative writers on utilizing archives. She has an MA in creative writing from Northern Arizona University and in library science from the University of Arizona.
Letters from Mabel Conway
a found poem
Believe it or not, I just found your address
among some pictures. I’m happy with my room.
I joined the World War I auxiliary.
I’ve been nominated for office.
After I’ve lived here six months,
I’ll join Eastern Star. I belonged
when I was a teenager. I wore a formal
to a Masonic dance, the first in forty years.
I made two evening skirts with matching stoles.
I have other orders for sewing and crocheting.
People who do needlework aren’t plentiful here.
We have potluck dinners, not like at the Home.
Arcadia’s north of here, where the planes come in.
April 6, 1975
Exists Reason to Dance
Translation fails. But body
knows exists reason to shake it
with your eyes clenched shut
head looping, arms flailing
as though shark had leg of you
and held you lovingly under water.
Exists logic for hips to quicken
as a coin piece stopping spinning.
For hips to thrust hard and hard
against the invisible. Warrant
to roll from heel to toe, to turn
and kick and hop. Be a question
mark spinning round, a solo.
Jim Richards teaches at Brigham Young University–Idaho. His poems have been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, and have appeared recently in Prairie Schooner, Comstock Review, Poet Lore, and various online magazines. In 2013 he received a fellowship from the Idaho Commission on the Arts. He blogs about marathoning at 50before50.blogspot.com.
Wes Sexton is an Indianapolis resident and a student at Butler University, where he is currently in his second year of study toward bachelor’s degrees in trumpet performance and creative writing. He is 19 years old and “A Summer Day in Together” (published in the December/January edition of Literary Juice) is his first published work.