Stained Lass – LindaAnn LoSchiavo

Religion classes taught us to behave:
Defer fun’s gratification. Submit.

The patriarchy ruled the afterlife — —
Along with most improper things. Obliged.
Coerced. Imperfect those Confessions, stained.

Could any child prevent assaults or blab?

Each catechism lesson drilled down deep,
Swore death would be “the best day” of your life.

Meanwhile, your body was a sacrament,
Impure of thought and deed upon command

Swift holy water dip on the way out.


LindaAnn LoSchiavo is a dramatist, writer, and poet. Her poetry chapbooks “Conflicted Excitement” [Red Wolf Editions, 2018], “Concupiscent Consumption” [Red Ferret Press, 2020], and “A Route Obscure and Lonely”‘ [Wapshott Press, 2020] along with her collaborative book on prejudice [Macmillan in the USA, Aracne Editions in Italy] are her latest titles. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild and SFPA.
An interview —

The Cabinet Of Heed Issue 33 Contents Link

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Heading East – John Short

I left the rural town in Gascony
after camping in its graveyard
for a week with dog-eared poetry

then tobacco country, ratatouille,
tomatoes nabbed from fields
in the dead hours of afternoon.

At Lautrec, the Sisters gave out soup
and rustic loaves whose crusts
cracked and collapsed like old timber;

a madman with a shaven head
and heavy crucifix around his neck
persuaded me to drink with him.

Finishing one bottle he went off
for more – I thought to escape
but just sat there and made no move

and near my feet, our cigarette stubs
like spent shells buried in the dust:
one for each year of a misspent youth.


John Short lives in Liverpool and has had poems and stories in magazines around the world. Forthcoming in The Blue Nib, Sarasvati, Marble Poetry and Poetry Salzburg Review, his full collection Those Ghosts (Beaten Track Publishing) will appear later this year.

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TODAY – Shannon Frost Greenstein

Today, I pissed off the mascot for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Just imagine, going viral for insulting a panda.

vitriol, toxic poison, flowing through veins made of ones and zeroes, hatred made incarnate; the pro-Panda community up in arms, offended on behalf of Bing Dwen Dwen, furiously tweeting, and I suddenly have a headache and would like to leave work.


I lived the Manifesto, as do we all, every day;

a cog in a churning machine, regurgitating profit at the expense of human bodies;

capitalism started on the plantation, after all

sacrificing health and peace and peace of mind, materialism made incarnate, the world weeping and the planet melting and the price of insulin skyrocketing, and I suddenly feel radical for thinking that the privilege of prophylactic medicine = life.


I mothered.

a miniature version of myself, a symbiosis, our prize in the Darwinian lottery.

I coaxed him into the car and out of the car and into his chair and out of the bath, syrup in my voice, authority in my eyes, unconditional love made incarnate, until our four year-old nonverbal spectrum of wonder sleeps, and I suddenly wonder how to navigate with him through a world I cannot share.


I tried to eat food;

the omnipresent voice of my anorexia reminding me of my inherent worthlessness.

The bones of my skeleton are forever hidden too far under flesh and fat for me to appreciate their prominence, self-loathing made incarnate, and I suddenly feel guilt for the weight of the world, Sisyphus’ rock, and shame for having needs, biophysical needs, the needs of a body without value or willpower that I cannot overcome.


I stayed up too late staring at Twitter.

I am a villain, monocle affixed, twirling a coiffed mustache, out for vengeance and pandas; I am Lex Luthor to 2022 Olympic Mascot Bing Dwen Dwen’s Superman.


a world that loves pandas cannot tolerate a mentally ill Marxist with a special needs son who chooses to tweet Pandas are something I don’t really agree with at the reveal of the mascot for the Games of the XXIV Winter Olympiad, satire made incarnate, and I suddenly feel lonely and misunderstood and want to go to bed.


I lived and


I will live again.


Shannon Frost Greenstein is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, a Contributing Editor for Barren Magazine, and a former Ph.D. candidate in Continental Philosophy. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Crab Fat Magazine, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @mrsgreenstein or her website:

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Clowning Around – R C deWinter

loud and infuriating
full of yourself
so boastful
shedding testosterone like a leper shedding skin

you make me crazy
why should i love you
when it’s obvious you’ve found your true love
and it’s YOU

and then i stop
simmer down
cool off
blink my inner eyes
and take a good long look
inside your shadow self

and there i see what lies beneath the raging clownsuit
you wear for everyday
a thick molasses pool of doubt
small boyfeet firmly stuck in that gooey morass
feeling unworthy
feeling unloved

but wait
i blink again
i have this habit
always playing out that deceitful rope
projecting what i think
always flavored with compassion instead of truth

now i’m flummoxed
and don’t know what to do

should i trust my intuition
help that small boy
if he’s real
come unstuck
or should i shut this down

take you at face value
and kiss the loudmouth clown goodbye


RC deWinter’s poetry is anthologized, notably in Uno: A Poetry Anthology (Verian Thomas, 2002), New York City Haiku (NY Times, 2017), Cowboys & Cocktails (Brick Street Poetry, April 2019), Nature In The Now (Tiny Seed Press, August 2019), in print in 2River, Adelaide Magazine, borrowed solace, Genre Urban Arts, In Parentheses, Night Picnic Journal, Prairie Schooner, Reality Break Press, Southword among many others and appears in numerous online literary journals. Her art has been published too, and was licensed to ABC for use on the television show “Desperate Housewives.”

The Cabinet Of Heed Issue 32 Contents Link

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Whale Fall – Lisa Creech Bledsoe

Baleen whales can live a hundred years—
a fact known from generations-old harpoons locked
in the flesh of harvested whales—artifacts:
antique bullets, unexploded mines from a war
about which someone’s grandparents still have nightmares.

What will be cut one day from your body
or mine, that might be considered museum quality—
and what generation’s stories will be sealed in
such a reliquary?

Having made immense improvements to the diving bell
in the late 1700s, Charles Spalding and his nephew
Ebenezer proposed to recover silver, lead, and other
cargo from a ship wrecked in the Irish Sea. Seated
together in the bell, they were guided down with weights
but died, it was thought, after toxic gasses
from rotting bodies pinned in the wreck bubbled up
into their muscular, resolute shell.

Something in me bends away without my understanding
from the exquisite peal of swan and owl, burrows down
to a dreadful — or perhaps magnificent—lightlessness.
Our bodies grow heavy as if guided down by weights, and will
one day be given, or taken by fluke, weapon or
waters slashed to white by sea winds—

then we will fall like the whale,
whose curving architecture, whose mineraled vaults
and sweeping courtyards are briefly thronged with votaries,
then embraced by the current, and more tranquil songs.


Watched by crows and friend to salamanders, Lisa Creech Bledsoe is a hiker, beekeeper, and writer living in the mountains of North Carolina. Her first book of poetry, Appalachian Ground, was published in 2019 and she has poems forthcoming in The Main Street Rag, Front Porch Review, and Jam & Sand.

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Walls – Carl “Papa” Palmer

have ears
pay attention
don’t talk back
or offer opinion
never interrupt
let you have your say

being the wall
should be mandatory
taught in school
at home
on TV
a college class
before marriage
prerequisite for politicians
and not just in America


Carl “Papa” Palmer of Old Mill Road in Ridgeway, Virginia, lives in University Place, Washington. He is retired from the military and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enjoying life as “Papa” to his grand descendants and being a Franciscan Hospice volunteer. Carl is a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and Micro Award nominee. MOTTO: Long Weekends Forever!

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Closure – Amanda Pendley

I look back
the way women do to make sure they’re
not being followed home at night
I look for the boot prints
the hot air
the everything that reminds me of you
there is only one redeeming factor left
about churches anymore
and it is that you don’t have to go inside
to study the stained-glass windows
the people inside probably feel like they are atoms
minuscule things
looking up towards honeycombs
which makes me feel more god-like
not that it’s a competition
just that I am still alive enough to see
my breath in the air
instead of suffocating
hotboxed by hellfire
I always felt like fumes were coming
through the vents
little voices
in the way that they would keep the temperature
so cold you couldn’t get comfortable
enough to fall asleep
staying in the closet was a constant kick to the ribs
as soon as I would sink into my own warmth
the thermostat would drop below zero
southern Baptist churches rarely have stained glass windows
our pulpit had no windows at all
so no wonder it took me so long to
find the way out
I was blind in object permanence
a roly poly in an altoid tin
so when I see the sky
I look around
look behind me
afraid that the world will become a box
and I will lie bloody
impaled in its jaws
refusing to go back inside


Amanda Pendley is a twenty-year-old writer from Kansas City who is currently studying Creative Writing and Publishing at the University of Iowa. She has previously worked as an editor for Elementia Teen Literary Magazine and as the Nonfiction Editor of Ink Lit Mag. She is currently the Editor-in -Chief of Ink Lit Mag.

The Cabinet Of Heed Issue 32 Contents Link

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the stranger – Christine Brooks

she came up to me, asking for
a chance
to chat in private
said I looked like the kind of person who
could help

she said she was looking for her daughter,
given up on
July 4, 1967
or perhaps, even
taken by nuns

not one day had passed without thinking of
her baby,
barely, even a

she had no way of knowing that
I was adopted, & wondered
often about the woman who
gave birth to me
or that my research concluded at her grave,
years after her
heart stopped in the middle of a June night

a regular Wednesday took my birth mother out
but, somehow
a Friday night, which wasn’t very regular at all,
brought her back

or at least,

that’s how I remember it


Christine Brooks is a graduate of Western New England University with her B.A. in Literature and her M.F.A. from Bay Path University in Creative Nonfiction. Her poem, the price, is in the October issue of The Cabinet of Heed and her poems, life and I Don’t Believe, are in the fall issue of Door Is a Jar. Two poems, friends and demons are in the January 2020 issue of Cathexis Northwest Press and her poem, communion, is in the January 2020 issue of Pub House Books. Her book of poems, The Cigar Box Poems, was released in February 2020.

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Fire – Ann E Wallace

It could take a lifetime
to recover
from the daggers
you speak, proud,
uncensored. But yours
are not
the words
of a brave man.

A coward’s compulsion
as honor, respect
for truth, spews weakness—
you would not brave
a future
with one like me,
who may be
or failing.

Perched in safety
alone, you sear
into my skin among
so many other scars, numb
reminders all
of the fires
I have walked into
and through


Ann E. Wallace has a new poetry collection, Counting by Sevens, available from Main Street Rag, and has published poems in journals such as Crack the Spine, Mom Egg Review, Wordgathering, Snapdragon, Riggwelter, as well as Cabinet of Heed. She lives in Jersey City, NJ and can be found online at and on Twitter @annwlace409.

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Now I Lay Me Down – December Lace

A withering Jesus affixed to a bronze cross
judges me from a crumbling plaster wall
as I cower, breadcrumb size in a mousetrap closet.

Used candles, long-extinguished worship the altar
with no light from their shriveled wicks, his pickled form
frozen in agony

while my devout other half
sleeps like the angel she is
in a cold bedroom two floors above me,

soft and silent unless I open my throat
for the screams to come out.
(Jesus gets a headache when you talk.)

The only thing I pray for
is to wake up on the other side
of the door, away from the carved icon eyes

that glow in judgement, their verdict already passed
on sins not yet committed coming
from the whispers in my head.

They can read my screaming and they don’t like what they hear,
the candles moving without my touch,
vanilla smoke boiling in the air.


December Lace (@TheMissDecember) is a former professional wrestler and pinup model from Chicago. She is a Best of the Net nominee and has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Pussy Magic Lit, The Cabinet of Heed, Vamp Cat, and Rhythm & Bones, among others. She loves Batman, cats, and horror movies.

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Is the Nighttime Like the Day, When We Do Things and Go Places? – Jeffrey Hermann

If you close the book and go to sleep the sentences will fall to pieces
the plots will come unresolved

If you live in New York a little screen in your apartment sees midnight
rain on the sidewalk, people eating noodles from a box

If you leave your teapot and stuffed grey whale out in the yard
then the planets become toys, your house as well

Those are delicate hours, like you were a delicate child at first
living on a dropper of milk, a thimble of breath
Your tubes and wiring were tendrils in a garden

Older now, you pull books from the shelf and read poems
writing down new last lines of your own in a little notebook

And later, after you’re asleep, Pluto seems so far away
I sometimes use the pencil I know you’ve touched


Jeffrey Hermann’s work has appeared in Hobart, Pank Magazine, Juked, Houseguest Magazine, and other publications. He lives and works in southeast Michigan.

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Drenched – Randee Silv

Drenched: I was rushing somewhere. Shouts from a megaphone could be heard. They were not in agreement. They were not going to relocate. Others just sat. A few argued in silence. He came towards me. I couldn’t miss him. He put his face close to mine with a cupped palm and mumbled that his contractor had gone bankrupt. Nobody noticed him slipping out. He’d simply put on his street clothes and walked off carrying some magazines with a novel tucked under his arm. No one followed. No one came after him. Seeing how easy it was he knew he should’ve done it sooner. He said he only had nightmares when he was up. When he’s sleeping he’s fine. I was in a pine forest, barefoot. Moonlight. Streetlights. I was pressing a doorbell, but then I wasn’t. I did what the wind did. But it didn’t stop the sounds, not the ones I thought I was hearing but the ones that hadn’t yet come. I started whistling. Throat dry. I stood out in the rain with my mouth wide open.


Randee Silv’s wordslabs have appeared in Posit, Urban Graffiti, Maudlin House, Bone Bouquet, Utsanga, Otoliths, and in her chapbooks, Farnessity (dancing girl press) and in Fifteen Collages/Fifteen Wordslabs/Mumtazz/Silv (Nextness Press). She’s the editor of Arteidolia and the journal swifts & slows: a quarterly of crisscrossings.

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2018: a marriage odyssey – Matthew Daley

to let the air out I left
you couldn’t hear anymore
about the abundance of pillows
like I couldn’t hear about
walking around in dark rooms
when all the bills are paid
so I drove because that’s what
you have to do in LA and
paid $25 to see 2001
at 50 years old even though
I’ve owned it since 1997
knowing that when I confessed
on some future tomorrow you’d
mention the obvious things about
the movie not changing no matter
how many times I paid for it
and why couldn’t I care enough
about you to build a monolith


Matthew Daley has written commercials, documentaries, graphic novels, and a film that was never released. He has taught every level from 5th grade through Graduate School, always finding ways to sneak great poetry into his curriculum. He’s a father of three, husband of one, and a terrible singer/dancer who tries to turn many of his moments into a musical.

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Family History – Ron. Lavalette

My father always told me
his father always told him
that my father’s grandfather
died just like my father’s father:
rolled over in bed, sat up,
probably sat there a minute
thinking about the weather or
whatever it was that lay ahead,
reached down for his slippers,
groaned slightly, keeled over,
face-first onto the hardwood,
gone. Both of them, gone
in the lack of a heartbeat, gone
forever, before they got old,
regardless of what “old” was,
way back then when they died.

My father broke the pattern:
managed to hang on longer,
managed to avoid the floorboards
until his pancreas ate him alive,
slowly, letting him spend his
last few ancient days in his own
drug-comfortable bed, dreaming.

I’ve still got a few dreams coming,
I think; but these days, when I’ve
made it to ‘old’ but ‘ancient’ seems
unlikely, I wake up, roll over in bed
look at my slippers on the floor,
and feel like I’m flipping a coin
when I reach to pick them up.


Ron. Lavalette lives on Vermont’s Canadian border. His poetry, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction has been very widely published in both print and pixel forms. His first chapbook, Fallen Away, is now available from Finishing Line Press. A reasonable sample of his work can be found at EGGS OVER TOKYO :

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stung – Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

for Mary Eleanor Bowes 1749-1800

your Latin verbs danced in declensions/your words winged ideas to liberty/your spirit found cracks in brick walls/your fingers tended fragrant flowers/fondled fruit/your desire sought embrace and climax/your affection mulch and growth/your strength affronted lovers husbands men/men wished to prune you/bend you/bruise you/dead head your breast/nettle your mind/through these trials you knew/a bee’s sting is it’s last


Mary Eleanor Bowes 1749-1800 Owner of Gibside Estate, Gateshead, well-educated, amorous, expressive and a passionate gardener. She was the first woman in England to sue for divorce on grounds of cruelty.


Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon lives near Newcastle upon Tyne and writes short stories and poetry. Her first chapbook was published in 2019: ‘Cerddi Bach’ [Little Poems] by Hedgehog Press. Her first pamphlet is due to be published 2019/20. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

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Elegy with Mopping and Applesauce Cake – Kyla Houbolt

Jack’s dead now so I can write about him
taking me on a tour of the coast up from SF
eating Vienna Sausages in the back of the van.
Missing those days while I mop this floor
smeared with at least six weeks’
slops and mud smirch on white tile.
Give me the back of the van any day.

Made applesauce cake, remembering when
he came back from a season of apple picking,
hosted an apple party, I made a pie in that dim kitchen,
turned out real well, I’d never made a pie crust before.
He read that apple picking Frost poem, everybody did some
apple thing or other, it was slumming, really, a hippie thing,
go pick apples for a season.

I heard he died in Thailand, of cancer, like most of those men.
Not my ex-husband though, with him it’s his heart.
We argued about how to pronounce Walter Matthau. He said
Mat TOO, and I said MATH ow. He pimped me to Jack
one night. Jack was his best friend from way back.
I was only his wife.

Who knows.

The apple cake is good, the floor is white, next time
maybe I’ll paint a picture on it
instead of cleaning it down
to the bone.

With thanks to Hannah VanderHart for the title suggestion, and for the inspiration to write this poem.

Kyla Houbolt’s debut micro chapbook, Dawn’s Fool, is available from IceFloe Press. She is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, and most of her published work can be found on her Linktree: She is on Twitter @luaz_poet.

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The Restorer of the Plankhouse – Shelby Stephenson

for Ashley Langdon

Through his window of work he moves,
muscles flexed, then relaxed as doves
before the season comes in
to make them fly faster and higher.

In summer he wears shorts with holsters
for tools he grabs with ease as if to toast
the sunup to be the east’s chief clerk.
He’s already on the ladder, at work.

For a scant second, he sees me
arrive to say good morning.
Then he looks at the grill by Meco
And says, “Sometime we need to cook some hot dogs.”

For him sweat and sunset come on time.
He takes off his tool-belt and climbs
down his ladder against the fake well’s
roof he made to honor the real

one when the plankhouse was pulled
back in the meadow by two
mules, Black and Gray, whose withers
especially quivered like strings on a zither,

music similar to the carpenter’s
pulling a tendon in the center
of his left leg, in the calf.
He chooses jobs on that behalf,

threatening hurt; the purple martins
circle his head as if they park
in air to be part of the show,
a quiet tribute to this house on Sanders Road.

Without alarm those who enter the doors
he fixed to open good and the windows
he prepared in rooms all by himself,
the low-silled window lights bereft

of memories to all who did not
live here, father, mother, sister; the rot
of loneliness and neglect of furniture
he joins in the center of muscle’s curvature.

He admits he remembers tidbits
of life here he restores a little
at a time; then he stops by often
to check on the place visitors welcome.

Shelby Stephenson was poet laureate of North Carolina from 2015-2018. His most recent book: Slavery and Freedom on Paul’s Hill (Press 53)

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The Bitter Truth – Tiffany Hsieh

There was an old Taiwanese woman who was bitter as a widow, bitter as a mother, bitter as a grandmother. She would have been bitter as a sister, too, but her brother was not in the picture and her bitterness could not be attributed to him. While on her death bed in the hospital, she asked for her only son. He was in Canada and had to be coerced by his wife to fly home. The old woman didn’t really love her son as she felt that he never loved her after he turned thirteen. He had turned out to be just like her dead husband, the high forehead among other things. She also had a way of bringing out her dead husband in her son. Both men were ill-tempered and liked to drink when she was around. Even her grandson, her son’s son, had turned out to embody this male prototype. She didn’t love any one of them and they naturally didn’t love her, and she was bitter about that. Still, the old woman was somewhat satisfied with the fact that she had married the first, birthed the second, contributed to the third. None of them would be who they were without her and she wanted to tell her son that before she died. She wanted to have one last dig at him by telling him that his family would suffer the same fate as hers, because of karma, and that his son and future grandson would not love him just as he did not love her. The old woman’s son held her hand for the first time in more than half a century. As she stared at the hospital room ceiling, he informed her that his son and his son’s wife were a practising child-free couple. They lived in New York with their dog. The mongrel’s name was Happy and he loved everyone including the doorman. After hearing this, the old woman lived to be a bitter person only for another day.


Tiffany Hsieh is a Canadian writer living in Stouffville, Ontario. She used to play the piano and work as a reporter. She holds a master’s degree in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire. Her poetry is forthcoming in Ricepaper Magazine.

The Cabinet Of Heed Issue 29 Contents Link

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I Sniff Your Brown Bin – Camillus John

I sniff your brown bin
because it stinks when I pass it
on my way over to the bus stop
in the morning.

Every two weeks you put it out
to be collected by the bin company.
I’ve got no choice in the matter.
Your brown bin is on a footpath I can’t avoid
so your compost wafts up at me as I pass.
I cough. Choke a bit. And my eyes water.

When I return on my way home from work,
although your brown bin is physically gone,
I can still smell its putrescent contents
and hear the buzzing of its ticks and flies
from earlier, I sneeze I do, I sneeze
when I’m passing, even when it’s not there.

That time you went on holiday
you didn’t put it out, so I didn’t have
to sniff your brown bin.
I thought I’d be excited
and really rock ‘n’ rolled at such a scenario,
but no, I missed the stink
and the fumes
and I was soothed
when I got to sniff it
four weeks later when you
eventually put it out again
full to the overflowing brim.

I have to admit though, I lingered
a little longer than I should
have on that public pavement
outside your home
that Tuesday morning, after four whole
weeks of going without,
and it felt like kissing someone
with bad-breath standing there
amongst all the bluebottles.


Camillus John was bored and braised in Dublin. He has had work published in The Stinging Fly, The Lonely Crowd and RTÉ Ten and other such publications. He would also like to mention that Pats won the FAI cup in 2014 after 53 miserable years of not winning it.

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Cobalt Blue – Andrew Shattuck McBride

An elegant, deep shade of blue,
Mom’s favorite. Before the divorce
she and Dad collected bottles. Their prized finds
were tiny, blue to translucent.

Mom obtained most of the bottles. Dad obtained me.
Abandonment, hers and mine,
fissured break to chasm.
Her last year she refused my visits.

In an orange hotel room near her home
I was full of our estrangement.
I began writing poems, sent her a few—
offerings for reconciliation.

Mom said she liked them.
Our final call: I guess I know now
who the cobalt blue bottles go to.
We’ll talk later about you coming down.

One of my sisters called:
Mom was under hospice care, on oxygen,
her extremities fading to faintest blue
and translucence. Her white hair framed
lips frothing pink from laboring lungs.

Mom’s daughters
and her housemate held a deathbed vigil.
Mom died in Albuquerque
under its brittle pale blue sky.

I hoped to visit her one last time,
to describe Steller’s jays’ cobalt wings
and bodies and fierce black crests,
to show her my cobalt, broken-wing love.


Andrew Shattuck McBride is co-editor of For Love of Orcas, Wandering Aengus Press, 2019. His poem “I Was Happy as an Ant” was a semi-finalist for the 2017 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize. His work appears in Crab Creek Review, Empty Mirror, Floating Bridge Review, and Black Horse Review.

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