A Poem by Jamie Lynn Heller

An Entire Life

 

There’s nothing like

 

going through Great Aunt Priscilla’s house

after hospice has removed its equipment

and you’ve donated the wheel chair,

found the walker, flushed the pills,

debated what to do with an opened package

of adult diapers and her prosthetic breasts,

opened the blinds and windows to let in light and air,

found her old set of dentures,

her package of hearing aid batteries,

her crazy beaded chain attached to her reading glasses,

 

and

 

discovering a

lacy red nightgown,

stuffed in the back of a drawer,

in a style a couple of decades old,

a couple of sizes too small,

 

to remind you of

her life

before

 

 

 

“An Entire Life” first appeared in Kansas City Voices: A Periodical of Writing and Art.

 

 

 

Jamie Lynn Heller uses poetry as her caffeine.  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee (Little Balkans Review 2014) and Best of the Net nominee (805 Lit + Art 2016). Her chapbook Domesticated was published in 2015 (Finishing Line Press). She received honorable mention awards in Whispering Prairie Press Writing Contest 2012, and Kansas Voices Contest 2017, 2011. For a complete list of publications see jamielynnheller.blogspot.com.

A Poem by Lisa Richards

The Pawn Shop

 

I’ve been shining gems, all my life:

Gold chains, the graduation opal.

Lowering them in on the ammonia tray,

dazzled by prism beauty, inhaling their cleanliness—

These were items of principle:

Relatives pierced me with smooth studs

and a Mexican-made Italian Horn of Plenty.

(I wore it under a ripped t-shirt

and wrote unmarketable poetry).

I am a woman wading

up through the smells, oils, the face-pack apologies

to a visual strangeness:

Fake rocks,

the listless, silver, green-going things.

The stiff men, the ties that choke them.

I held the gloved palms

and saw the room darken at my own unjewelled image in the mirror.

For the talking piece of earth, hands of grain

for the oyster eyes, their pearl-worth,

I robbed my ring fingers.

Each cell heaved, returned to its previous chemistry.

In the forbidden river,

my limbs float upward in a pool of light

like a deep, rich, red boat rocking.

Lisa Richards earned her B.A. in English and Creative Writing from U.C.L.A., and her M.S.W. from U.S.C. She is a Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work, and has maintained a consulting practice in Southern California for over thirty years. She is published in her field and has presented at numerous conferences. Lisa received an Honorable Mention from the Academy of American Poets. She recently won residencies from Turkey Land Cove Foundation, Hypatia-in-the-Woods, and University of Washington’s Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center. In 2012, Lisa co-authored Dear Mallory: Letters To a Teenage Girl Who Killed Herself (New Middle Press) following the 2011 suicide of her only child. Dear Mallory received an Honorable Mention in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards, and was called “hauntingly candid” by The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dear Mallory has been added to the recommended reading list of the American Association of Suicidology, and is being used as a suicide prevention tool in schools and psychotherapy offices. Dear Mallory is also a resource for survivors of suicide loss.

For more information, please go to http://dearmalloryletters.com/

She is the author of Their Sobering Suicides (Finishing Line Press) available at amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Their-Soberingsuicides-Lisa-Richards/dp/194489988X