Contents
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Free Verse
 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Howard, US

 

Undertow

 

on Mother’s Day
the men go rafting
children running wild
bouquets of guilt
blushing on the tables

wife to wife the calls
plans for a childless
gathering at a seaside spa
come Father’s Day

 

 

Checkmate

 

first-grade teacher
labels him retarded
refers him for evaluation

he almost aces
the picture test
his eyes beaming
an intelligent boy
I declare

she pokes her finger at me
if he cannot read
he’s retarded
exclamation point
period

 

 

A Firm Hand

 

when the father
rises from his chair
red-faced
wife and children cower

when a stranger appears
at the open door
he laughs heartily
just a little fear to keep
them in line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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