She read to them while embers, eyelids simmered low…

I have been taking a break from writing and reading a backlog of old and newly discovered poetry collected on my bedside table. Nothing I like better.

This is one by Rachael Ikins that has quickly set itself apart, in so many ways, delivering to me the magical moment of understanding I always hope for, look for, in every poem I come upon.

It’s a jewel, a story so perfectly told that it made me feel stronger, maybe even a little wiser, after reading it. I hope it also reaches you in ways that matter.

At Miss Kitty’s Home for Wayward Girls
Rachael Z. Ikins (c) 2014

In the aftermath of winter storms,
broken marriages, death, and a quest
for independence a group of women
various ages, hair colors etc. gathered before a fire
to roast marshmallow Easter candies called
Peeps. Creme brûlée on a fondue fork.

Good scouts that they were, creativity
& indoor fireplace saved dinner. A sudden rainstorm
soaked the plan to cook wieners over a bonfire
in the back yard. Every single woman lost a father
to heart disease when those fathers were fifty.
A strange, sad community.

But the elders, this tiny group of survivors,
delighted to shock younger, tales of sex,
older women, erotic experience, LOL,
sex-toys and dream lovers. One dreamer,
a poet. She read to them while embers, eyelids simmered

low. They slept with dogs, woke up, faced new
adventures. Next morning, poet noticed the fire.
Rekindled through night, ash-camouflaged coals.
Not unlike an older woman; holds deep heat.
One candle continued to waver from mantelpiece after

they’d gone to bed, guarding all sleepers and travelers
through darkness with fragile constant magic.

If I Could, I Would

I often wonder if advice ever really helps us in our everyday lives. Or do we have to live through something ourselves for the wisdom to stick to us?

My twin nieces turned 18 this month and I have been thinking of what I would most want them to know at 18 that I didn’t.  I mean, what’s all this learning by our mistakes and the resulting heartache if we can’t pass on some heads up?

What do I wish someone had told me? Where to begin? I’m exhausted thinking about it and how can I not fall short of such a lofty, impossible goal? But you’re not living if you’re not trying.

Out of that came this piece, “If I Could I Would,”  about trying to concoct a poem that would do it all: serve as the girls’ steadfast template, guide them through whatever may stand in their way. A piece devoutly to be wished for sure and also a concrete and lasting way to remind them, through their very own poem, what they mean to me and the riches they have brought to my life.


Writer and Poet

Tricia McCallum profile

Tricia McCallum

Always be a poet. Even in prose.
Charles Baudelaire.

In essence I am a storyteller who writes poems. Put simply, I write the poems I want to read.[…]

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Thanks for sharing


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