Lost Times

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The Song of Summer

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Soft Sand

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Your head is empty

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A Skunk Rules the Day

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When Skies Collide

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Once a Daffodil

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It was there before

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Honorable Mention in our 4th Annual Poetry Contest: “The Healing Question,” by Roberta Schultz

The Healing Question

In legends, the Fisher King’s wounds are healed by a question.

The Fisher King finds me

at Lourdes Hall.  He hides

amid the nuns on my birthday.

As I step off the elevator,

one nun seems adrift

in her lounge chair, like she

tends a trout line, watches

for bites on the glossy surface.

As I set up my guitar, she leans

forward to take an aide’s arm,

to slowly shuffle frozen hips

and swollen ankles my way.

She thrusts a gift bag forward

from which I pull a chalice—

like the grail from Arthur’s quest—

attached card calligraphed by hand.

At the inside brim

where coffee will rise

(or tea, the nuns chorus)

is another inscription—

inscrutable and true. Spelled

out in black script, Blessed.

White letters spill more Blessed

across pink wings that span

both sides of the cup’s painted

Eden scene. Smiling nuns wait

for my response. Nervous, I ask,

Am I blessed or blesséd?

The Fisher King sister kicks up heels

with a joy that jostles the jon boat.

She rows ashore to dance away

on lithe thighs made new.

By Roberta Schultz

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Honorable Mention in our 4th Annual October Project Poetry Contest: “Raising 5 Kids and My Wife Does Not Like Poetry,” by Jeffrey Manning, Sr.

Raising 5 Kids and My Wife Does Not Like Poetry

He recalls the rumble and tumult over three decades:

Bikes tangled for toddlers, then children, then teens.

Mountains of ski equipment, helmets, boots, and

Stacks of hockey gear, mouth-guards and

Sleeping bags, tents, backpacks and heavy black pans.

Sneakers, high boots, Sperrys, rollerblades, and pumps.

Bales of jackets, hats, scarves, and gloves.

Piles of clothes for school, play, and the babies.

Pink and white castles. Legos, dress-up, and Elvis costumes.

Potions. Cheese sticks. Cheerios.

Lost teeth. Sleepless nights.

Cakes, camps, and cars.

Doctor visits and dental repairs.

New brakes and bald tires.

Mud, mucus, pee, and blood.

Trauma, drama, and fist fights.

Peals of laughter. Plus

Hours upon hours of driving hither and yon.

Feasts and Festivals are bright spots —

Her annual Christmas eve all-nighter,

Decisions not made, with options unresolved,

And late nights, years ago, assembling toys, toys, toys.

Christmas morning with the Yule log blazing.

Bing on the stereo, funny stockings

And the jumble of packages, boxes, and bags.

Turkeys, roasts, and nut pies wafting in the rafters.

Many years of the long drive to the Sound, with

Grumpy children sleeping and

Not as much traffic as he feared.

And sad days have they shared —

The loss of her father,

The near drowning of a son,

Regrettable and costly decisions by teens,

A son off to the Marines,

Sibling illness,

Aging parents,

Financial hardships,

Burdens from tuitions and

Too many bills yet unpaid.

Years of never seeming to catch up.

It is always something.

Yet, he seeks solace in the peace of

Hearth fires burning on a snowy night,

Celtic chords of music in the air,

And in her sleep, breathing rhythmic air,

With the faithful hound

Snoring by the foot of the bed.

So together they work hard, day by day,

Over the stealthy creeping years, yet while

Nature’s mortality holds its inevitable power,

These memories represent their Immortality!

By Jeffrey Manning, Sr.

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