“To My Father” by Ben Brandstein

Like an autumnal leaf

Gently waltzing with the wind

Here and there, until coming to rest

In a pool of water, causing the aquatic reflector

To wrinkle; I think of you and it takes some time

To remember to forget about you.

Would you be proud?

Would you praise or condemn these fingers

That feel whole when perched on a pen and not pig skin?

Cuticles stained with ink,

Trenches occasionally occupied by nylon.

Would you teach me anything significant?

I shaved with the help of magazines.

I learned how to treat a woman from the way

Clark Kent embraced Miss Lane.

The transcendent value of a dollar was taught to me

By a prepubescent entrepreneur across the street

Desperate for the missing quarters his lemonade was worth.

So what would you give me? Lessons? Gifts?

Happiness? A harmonic resonance to eradicate

These moments of dissonance?

Or perhaps your greatest gift was absence.

Instead of a young, pliable counterpart I am

Myself. My own source of instruction.

But when I am blessed with a child of my own

I will provide them with every single moment

I wish I could have had with you.

Ben Brandstein

Photograph by VC Ferry

© 2011

“Swan Song” by L. K. Thayer

Photo by L. K. Thayer

Photo by L. K. Thayer

(for my mom ‘Gini’)

we didn’t know
the turn
life would
take
when daddy walked
out the door

holding my 6 mo. old
brother in her arms
her two girls
in the other room
sang & twirled to
“HI-LILI, HI-LO”
on the phonograph

her heart skipped
the door slammed

blind-sided
spinning
she lay my brother
down to sleep

three kids
no council
no clue

she dyed
her pink
ballet shoes
red

and
they were
left

hanging

L. K. Thayer

All Rights Reserved

© 2009

“HI-LILI, HI-LO”

A song of love is a sad song, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo
A song of love is a song of woe
Don’t ask me how I know
A song of love is a sad song
For I have loved and it’s so
I sit at the window and watch the rain, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo
Tomorrow I’ll probably love again, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo.

Sung by Leslie Caron from the movie, “Lili”

(Words and Music by Branislau Kaper and Helen Deutsch)

All Rights Reserved

© 1953

“The Hourglass Is Clear” by Jacquelyn Gail

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

She didn’t know I was holding her hand

or where she was or why. She was here but not here.

She was far away and yet holding on. I was holding

on, holding her, holding her cold, limp fingers in my hand,

holding all my fears wrapped around the fears she had now forgotten.

My need for her filled the room, pushing out all the air.

I stopped breathing, forced my breathing, breathing for both of us.

Could she slip away before she filled the hole, endless,

stretching to the darkness of the night that I slipped through from my rooftop one night,

as I searched for the angels that did not come.

I understood. Abandonment was my backyard where the flowers

refused to grow. A stench rose up instead and I ran from the foulness,

the putrid aroma clinging to my skin and permeating my marrow.

Channel no. 5 was her cure; mine, Coco Mademoiselle the starter, and

Black Orchid subbing in when needed.

I needed her.

The hour glass was clear, it didn’t matter.

Jacquelyn Gail

All Rights Reserved

© 2009