At my parents’ house on the one-month anniversary of my sister’s death, which is also the three-year anniversary of September 11th

it snows. Too early for snow but seasons change.
On the warm ground snow falls all day,
fat white splashes not quite like ashes, but
with a purpose, a quiet, eerie mismatch of
What for, why, how can this be.
There’s a hum. I can’t hear right.
This silence is deafening.
I hate snow.

A chainsaw sits near the door of my childhood home.
The door’s knob wore down and fell off.
The door forgot its name, is listening for it in the wind.
A pair of rubber work boots stand nearby.
They rub together, rattled by a cold breeze, a
synthetic scratch, scratch, daring me to enter.

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First Memory

The picnic table. My sister’s
vaporous hair. Neighbors
in their unknown clothes.

I’m wild in blue shorts,
striped top. My mom’s
in my sister’s body.

The tenants of the lawn
rumble their tongues
like little engines and tickle

my untouched ankles.
I run the path of planets
around the wild grass

between the grass
between our houses. My
arms make airplanes.

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Patricide At the Dog Howl Cartoon

Father, my heart freezes
stiff as those chickens
when that slaughter truck overturned
in the blizzard of ‘78

and as I walked through the empty
snow world I kicked them,
feathers all over the road.

There is mother
in smoke and shame
hiding her face how the dead
know to do. Father,
her dark eyes hair skin all
a howl of rain.

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Tuna Meow Meow 10¢ Off

Tuna Meow Meow 10¢ Off Checkout behind befuddled womanwho places one can Turkey & Giblets Cat Foodon counter, watches the scan,selects a Price Chopper couponthumbing through a stack in her fist.Cashier shakes her head: “Coupon’s forthe small size, honey, you’ve got the large,”tosses the can in a reject bag white plasticwhile Ms. Befuddle lifts a […]

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Becoming Eve

Becoming Eve My mother wanted me baptized with the middle name of Eve. It was 1953. The priest would not hear of it. In a covert nod to Church authority, she settled on the diminutive of “Evelyn.” I can’t recall exactly when she shared this anecdote with me. I do know I was old enough […]

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Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers 1. on your right the dark thing father’s letter to a tramp college strippers’ dinner you’re not invited crackers from the machine get off stage people expect even from an amateur one good thing necklace from classmates a climber fifth avenue jab and punch rarely real corn-flaked motel dirt-blackened tub hard blinding a […]

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Overnight

Overnight Mom’s short-term memory no longer tethers one moment to the next, so I’m at the hospital to stay overnight with her following breast cancer surgery. Though she still has moorings in the distant past, recent events float quickly to a further shore, so my job is to keep retying her to a drifting present. […]

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Frost

Frost Whenever I see early morning frost I think of you, Mother, how each day, when you drove me to school through the canyon you’d point out how the meadows glimmered as if it were the first time.

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My Melancholy Baby

Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D. is an 87-year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as the London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Taj Mahal Literary Journal, Antigonish Review, Ottawa Arts Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York […]

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