Noodle Day at the Senior Swim Center
Silver-haired mermaids eagerly wait all week
while, each morning, their arthritic hands lift
and lower water-weights, legs with new knees
jump imaginary barrels
and every heart muscle braces
for the water-running session.
But on Fridays—Noodle Day, they
mount styrofoam seahorses,
stampede wildly across vast expanses,
ford rushing rivers and frolic girl-like
in Southern California surf.
And, during that weekly hour,
in the only slightly chlorinated salt-water pool,
qualms about plantar fasciitis,
forgotten keys and eyeglass cases,
complaining husbands and non-responsive kids,
slowly sink down through the blue,
to the bottom of the pool and rest.
– Sandra Rokoff-Lizut, retired educator and children’s book author, is a printmaker and poet. She is a member of Oregon Poetry Association and was 1st place award winner in their Spring 2014 contest. Rokoff-Lizut studied poetry through OSU, as well as at Sitka and Centrum. Previous publications include Illya’s Honey, The Bicycle Review, Wilderness House Review, The Penwood Review, Wild Goose Poetry Review, and Verseweavers.
We race for the swing, mornings,
as we wake. You reach first again.
By one pole I fall upon the grass,
encased in the thick wet. I watch
you face the pines, and climb on.
You pump, and from high on the bridge,
higher even than trees, the knots creak.
You hook one rope in your elbow
to pull out a splinter and then
pump and the rough ropes grandly
sweep you back again, and to,
and back and to again, for the grove.
As it comes, I yes. I yes the moment
you hurl your weight and wanting
toward its shine, knowing: in the soft needles
of scent that sift out all sunlight
you’ll be in the Cool Dark alone
again, and I alone will remain.
I hear them calling as I start up the path.
– Jacqueline Leigh is an ESL teacher who lives both in Michigan and Sierra Leone. In addition to writing poetry, she trains teachers to run ESL writing workshops and writes books for young readers. Her recent poems have appeared in The Ofi Press and Lost Tales from the Mountain.
There is Little Known of Peace
we look for it in
sodden sole-weathered feet
in hot shrill cicada mornings
and field-empty crow evenings
in the weather-worn salt of day
the punch prose weakness of night
tumbling hands as they
sway astride the body
grave frostbitten eyes
that remain shut
while the news of the world
carries on unknown
while the days of the world carry on
in pop-gun attitudes
the croak of an old cat’s meow
slam-shut screen doors at the
hands of hurried children
there are too few clean lines
we need each word of the day
slow and full in the mouth
– Sarah D’Stair has been published in Burningword and is the author of Roulettetown (Kuboa 2011) and Petrov Petrovich Is in Love (Kuboa 2016). She is currently a graduate student writing a dissertation on a subject of sublime importance.
Summer in the City
The slow tumble
began long before
I walked along
and perched myself at cafes
where my cold coffee was sweating more than me
I refused to fill the lacunas
with wilted compliments
or charred nostalgia
or something vascular
my shards were just that—mine.
a place to spring from
before I was this
Saturday of a woman
– Saumya Dave is a writer and psychiatrist in New York City. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, India Abroad, Open Beast, British Medical Journal, and others.