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                                                                          

Wes Sexton

 

A tiny black beetle lives

                                     in

                                            my brain,

and eats my memories.

 

First he ate the odd little things:

                      mathematic

                                            formulas

                      and

tricks

                      I

           learned.

 

After those were gone he delved into

the stuff mom said and the songs I’ve heard.

 

But now,

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

               b

                                   l

          o

                                                                                w

                   n

                                               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

                                 filled

                                              my

                                                       mind

                                                                    with

                                                                               its

                                           excrement.

Dream Hacker                                                                      

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

already dead

 

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

shut

 

This new day will be long.

2647213782_9500cac028

L i t e r a r y . J u i c e

An Online Literary Magazine

Poet

Tree

February/March 2014

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.

www.johnreppwriter.com

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

John Repp

 

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.

 

Eureka, California

April 6, 1975

Exists Reason to Dance                                                                                      

Jim Richards

 

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.