Personal History

Tell me about the light you have lost.
   It was the breath of my first baby, the one
never taken.  The doctor's words, sharp
   as scalpels.  Her skin, on my fingertips,
petals of heliotrope.  What tools do you need
   to recover?  Paper, pen; blood instead of ink.
The pollen of memory clings to my sleeves.
   As small as the wind's shadow, the fleeting
glimpse of her face.


Sonnet from the Psalms: Psalm 145, verse 1

I will meditate, and also do yoga.
Learn how to breathe through alternate nostrils.
I will make my pilgrimage unto the health spa.
I will cleanse my body; let the world’s ills

seep through my pores: a miasma
of carcinogens, free radicals,
impurities.  Wash me clean with kombucha,
rose hips, hibiscus, anything herbal.

I will give up meat, become vegetarian.
Add garlic, onions, broccoli to everything I cook.
Toss in spices: turmeric, herbs from the Mediterranean.
Free-range eggs, wild-caught fish from net or hook.

Lord, remove my sins with steam, exfoliation.
Cleanse my soul, renew me, lead me unto hydration.

Volume  11.2 - December 2018

BARBARA CROOKERis a poetry editor for Italian-Americana, and author of nine full-length books of poetry, with Some Glad Morning coming out in the Pitt Poetry Series in 2019.  Her awards include the WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. Her work appears in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including The Chariton Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Tar River Poetry Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Hollins Critic, Poetry International, The Denver Quarterly, Smartish Pace, Gargoyle, Christianity and Literature, Poetry East, The American Poetry Journal, Dogwood, Zone 3, Passages North, Nimrod,  Common Wealth:  Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Nasty Women: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse and has been read on the ABC, the BBC, The Writer’s Almanac, and featured on Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry.