Tag Archives: Main Street Rag

Elegy with Ice Cream by Kathy Nelson

            ―Travis Leon Hawk

A man fits a contraption
onto a wooden pail, fills it with ice.
The child turns the handle as easily

as her Jack-in-the-box but soon
grows bored and runs to play
in the dappled shade of July.

This the man who, as a boy, teased
white fluff from the knife-edges
of cotton bolls under summer sun

till his fingers bled. Once, he spied
a rattler coiled between his feet.
He wants her to understand how

hardship built this good life, how
readily dust could blow again, how
quickly flak jackets could come back.

He calls her to him, teaches―add salt
to the ice, keep the drain clear, turn
the crank without haste, without desire.

Her small shoulder stiffens. He grips,
labors with his own broad forearm,
churns the peach-strewn cream.

Kathy Nelson (Fairview, North Carolina) is the author of two chapbooks―Cattails (Main Street Rag, 2013) and Whose Names Have Slipped Away (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Asheville Poetry Review, The Cortland Review, Tar River Poetry, Broad River Review, and Southern Poetry Review.

Portrait of My Mother by Kathy Nelson

My mother sits in profile on the photographer’s stool,
one arm draped over crossed knees, the other behind her.
White crinoline and ruffles. Classic pose. Scuffed shoes.

She is taking that single breath between girl and woman.
The ripening plum of her mouth. The start of softness
above the narrow velvet ribbon of her empire waist.

Nights, she listens from her bed to slamming doors,
the late thunder of tires on oyster shells in the drive.
Or her mother rouses her from sleep, commands her

to yell her father’s name from the car, embarrass him―
he and his tart carousing at the open-air bar. She’s
a conscript in her mother’s war. What she longs for―

her father’s love. He’s bound to his pocket flask.
Mornings, she sits at the piano, as her mother requires,
plays scales and études. Duty over desire. I want to break

the glass over the portrait, let her out. I want to tell her:
set the house on fire, let them wonder if you drowned
in the canal, run away to Kathmandu in your scuffed shoes,

Kathy Nelson (Fairview, North Carolina) is the author of two chapbooks―Cattails (Main Street Rag, 2013) and Whose Names Have Slipped Away (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Asheville Poetry Review, The Cortland Review, Tar River Poetry, Broad River Review, and Southern Poetry Review.

“Predictable Patterns” by Laurinda Lind

I can’t stay centered on the winter solstice
even in its most ancient aspect and certainly
not its spendthrift one but when I was young,
boxes of attic bulbs determined December

along with trees that don’t belong inside
and won’t stay up, but mean it isn’t always
going to be this dark and cold, we’ll see
ground again without snow. After years

of take-apart trees and malevolent demented
light strings I have failed in the Christmas
category, either neglecting the tree till
it shredded to the touch in April and could

be scattered in the yard over leaves I never
raked in the fall, or not putting one up at all
so my daughter would come home from
college and sigh and put it up herself, and

once opened all my CDs. Stuck them on
the branches where they shone silver like
a Jetsons tree, assuming they would still
have trees in that century, that the seasons

will mean something after this terrible time
where we are now, this dark we are not
sure will take us through to spring, no
matter how much tinsel we throw to it.

Laurinda Lind’s poems are in Another Chicago Magazine, Blue Earth Review, Blueline, Comstock Review, Constellations, Main Street Rag, and Paterson Literary Review; also anthologies Visiting Bob [Dylan] (New Rivers) and AFTERMATH (Radix). In 2018, she won the Keats-Shelley Prize for adult poetry and the New York State Fair poetry competition.

“Conversations” by Maril Crabtree

After “Caught in the Days Unraveling” by Chelsea Welsh

Among my undiscovered loves and passions
lie patterns unwinding

tokens from another age
finding wilderness that matches

the beauty in my head
reducing self to its essence

learning how to carve something
as intricate as Chinese calligraphy

as intimate as skywriting

if I live long enough I will discover
patterns both intricate and simple

a hairbrush swimming in a sea of hair
its blue fish-eye sending

one more message to decipher
from an urgent universe

Enjoy Maril’s other poems, “Driving to Dripping Springs” and “New Mexico Sky,” on 200 New Mexico Poems  


Maril Crabtree grew up in Memphis and New Orleans but calls the Midwest home. Her most recent book is Fireflies in the Gathering Dark. Formerly a poetry editor for Kansas City Voices and contributing editor to Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance and Solidarity, her work has appeared in Literary Mama, KalliopeI-70 ReviewDMQ Review, Main Street Rag and others.

“Valediction” by Robert Beveridge

Valediction

It just doesn’t seem to matter to you if I’m here or not

Hiss of rain outside
the blank tape that ends the mix
unavoidably

You just ignore me

no more single drops
steady stream down the windows
grey light blurs to blue

goodbye

grey room,  air pregnant
with moisture
clouds on ceiling
will this rain ever end?


Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pink Litter, The Algebra of Owls, and Main Street Rag, among others.

“A Hard Lesson from Hirsch” by Cathryn Cofell

What did I know then
of the tenderness of poetry?
Head full of chlorine
and dripping boys in Speedos.
High school was elegy,
fashion and fractions,
spandex and goggles,
ass in the air on a starting block,
a coach who passed me in algebra
so I could rip 50 meters of watery space
in less time than it took to read Frost.
What did I know then
of the cogent of desire?
That coach should have flunked me,
left me to sulk in the library
where Eddie and I could be discovered,
flailing in the stacks.
Now, instead, I suffer the ghost,
Eddie’s rhythm a rock from a slingshot,
me a wild hare poised.
“You are a foreigner to yourself,”
he writes in chalk around me
and the young girls giggle,
this old girl too young.

Cathryn Cofell-Appleton, publishes poems, essays and emails to bad teachers.  She has her name on six chapbooks, a CD and a forthcoming collection, but no restraining orders.  Yet.

Read her poem “Fertility Specialsit.”