The History of Soup
I learned about Potlikker soup by
reading a poem. As if the tough dark
greens and leftover hambones would ever
sound delicious. And yet the way that poet
spoke of those edible leaves was a thing
of beauty. I knew a guy once, they used
to call him Soup for short because his name
had nearly every letter of the alphabet
strung together in an unsayable way.
But now I think it was just too much
to bother with. It takes more time to say
a name that's full of consonants instead
of vowels, and he never seemed to mind
anyway. Potlikker soup is made from
saving the extra parts, using up
what might otherwise be thrown away—
an old African-American tradition from back
in the day of plantation kitchens, a chance
to salvage the remnants, the only way slave
cooks managed to have enough to still feed
I learned some troubling history in the process
of researching that recipe, and it made me
feel guilty for not knowing the backstory
of how it came to be. So, I think I should
have called that guy by his real
name, not cut it short
for the sake of ease, the same way
the real history of this country should be
spoken, so much has been abbreviated
like a reduction of truth because it's easier.
Calling that guy Soup didn't do him
it took away a piece of his identity, crushing
letters into something more sayable,
an altered script, rather than saying
his real name, honoring his-story
and the roots from whence he came.
Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is enrolled in the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing program and is an eleven-time Pushcart Prize nominee. In 2020 her latest collection Alice in Ruby Slippers was shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize.
I see you as clear as the solid line
on my GPS. Women are the red dot
of your destination. You confuse desire
for my mouth, hands, and breasts
with the hollow field of your heart,
blown open at the age of six when you were told
you were adopted. The perceived desertion
turned to the power of flirting,
to the wife left home reading a book
on your fake business trips. Let me tell you,
I should have moved past sympathy and excuses
decades ago. Dear Man with the overly doting
mother who when she died left you mining for
forever approval, using phrases you hoped would
magically make me quiver. I should have turned toward
anywhere but there, in that moment, moved toward
the beauty of myself. You, Dear Man,
who thought strength came from anger,
and after you confirmed defeat, wanted to screw me.
Beware, I tell my daughters, not all animals
are vicious, but the alligator one day rests
calm as still air in the sun on the log in the river,
and another day will eat a chihuahua whole.
Yvonne Leach’s first collection of poems was Another Autumn. Her work has appeared in Buddhist Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, Clare Literary Magazine, decomP MagazinE, The MacGuffin, Midwest Quarterly, Plainsongs, South Carolina Review, South Dakota Review, and Whitefish Review, among others.
Epileptic: A Crown Cinquain
Dab water on your lips
Listen to the beeping machines
Give their reports
Coded in cautious words
We listen for any sign of hope
Watching for clues
My faith lags behind yours
I sense death approach this time love
Seizes full on
Where are you little sis
Can they bring you back once again
Inside and out
A chill of sorrow shared
You have turned to settled snow now
Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals, including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Slant, and others. Marc is a Chicago-area LGBTQ+ writer and the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry.
“Make today not be
like the others.”
Her silent prayer
that yet again
Noises from the next room . . .
Eyes shut tight
she clutches her doll,
no longer hearing.
Shrinking her world
to a safe spot.
Dick Narvett is retired from a life in international business and independent film acting. He currently lives in rural Pennsylvania, where he writes flash fiction and poetry. His work can be found in 365 Tomorrows, Fewer Than 500, and others.
The women in their large silk brimmed hats
do not smile for just any man.
Their mothers taught them better than that.
Women in shiny white and black riding shoes,
walking daintily like women ought to walk.
With all of our beauty,
You would expect it to feel less rancid.
Each move of these delicate bones was learned.
Taught to women by other women,
who were taught these pretty dances by their mothers.
Our ancestors were crossing their legs at the ankle,
before propriety ever learned what they hid under their dresses.
You call your great manmade machines she.
You name your natural disasters, her.
Your first home was the womb of a girl,
the belly of a beast.
Precise decisions are made by women for your viewing pleasure.
Women with their gloves pulled up to the wrist,
Making every knuckle lustful in the hidden hand.
What do we have to do,
To stop being called witches?
Is it magic to wield the skin as a means to an end?
The woman is not to blame for the errant wanderings of a lost man,
for if he falls under her spell,
he was not ever meant to survive it.
Korinne Ellert is a poet from Indiana who writes about grief, mental illness, feminism, significant cultural events, sexuality, and the romantic aspects of being alive. Currently, she resides with her girlfriend in a happy but quaint apartment with their three cats.
When of my death you learn
Feel at noon no pain
The ground rests lightly on me.
When of my death you understand
Feel at midnight no ache
I am of a new blue
I have lived
I had you.
Sir Massimo Mitolo, Knight OMRI, Ph.D., PE, CFEI, FIET, FIEEE. is a professor, School of Integrated Design, Engineering and Automation, Irvine Valley College.
David Clode on unsplash
The Art and Zen of the Nanny
I flip one over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes—Stop! Again! Again!
I roll one up as a rainbow blanket burrito, scoop him onto the table to cook, flip to the other side, and eat him.
I tell them that if their foot falls off from stepping on a toy, I can sew it back on.
We eat sunbabies
but avoid freshly squeezed cucumber juice— because that is disgusting.
I am awarded “The Silliest Person in the World.”