Lit Issue 2018 | Poetry

Time Travel: J.C. Penney Photo Studio, 1994

this photo wasn’t planned:
we’re just here
for my son’s annual
picture to be mailed
with Christmas cards
he’s three now
wearing a rainbow patchwork shirt
hugging Big Bird
Jennie my bestfriend
in blue-flowered top
sitting in her electric
I’m in raggedy
faded t-shirt
never expecting
“Hey, why don’t I take the three of you?”
my arms encircle
my son and my friend
my curly-haired son’s smile
beams trust
Jennie looks ready to laugh
and I’m grinning innocent
Jennie would die in four years
I’d lose my father and another friend
but in this moment
I have the world

Holiday Issue 2015 | Poetry

Red Cups

It’s November but
at Dunkin’ Donuts
Elvis sings about
blue Christmas Frank
warns that Santa
is coming to town I drink
decaf from a styrofoam cup
shouting “Joy”
celebratory red
surrounded by
evergreen boughs and
“Warning: Extremely Hot” while
a few blocks
baristas pour five-dollar lattes
in plain red cups
entering the war
on Christmas while
governors vote
to exclude refugees
slash benefits for people
who are poor split families
deporting moms and dads
but let’s make sure
our coffee cups talk about love
and peace on earth
while we rejoice
in our right to bear arms