Nancy Lubarsky has been an educator for over 35 years. A retired school superintendent, she holds a Doctorate in English Education from Rutgers University. Nancy has been published in various journals, including Edison Literary Review, Lips, Poetry Nook, Poetica, Tiferet, Exit 13, Howl of Sorrow Anthology, Paterson Literary Review, and US1 Worksheets. She received honorable mention in the 2014 and 2016 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, and Editor’s Choice in 2017. She has also been nominated twice for the Pushcart prize. She is the author of two books: Tattoos (Finishing Line Press) and The Only Proof (Kelsay Press).
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Nancy Lubarsky and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The first boy in high school who stole
my heart also stole record albums. He’d
buy one, then exit Grand Way’s auto-doors.
They’d re-open, beckon him back to finger
through racks of LP’s, slip another into
his slim square bag. I still have the one he
gave me, merged with others in milk crates
that once braced dorm-room shelves,
my broken turntable beneath boxes in the
basement. I met him when you could still
hold music in your hands, before it shrunk
to 8-tracks, cassettes, CD’s and now just
digital pulses. John Barleycorn Must Die
is the one I remember. The title song,
a British folktale about a murder, was
really about the harvest of tiny grains into
something more potent. We sat on the porch
steps. He nudged the record toward me – the
cover resembled a burlap sack, the tied barley
stalks in the center – a bouquet.
for my father
Long after you were gone
I found your cuff links
in a velvet pouch among my
bracelets. The A (for Arthur) etched
in gold ovals, leaned right, the tail
swirled left, like a wave receding.
There’s mystery in the curls,
from a time before font names
were familiar, when elaborate letters
pledged stories to come.
I never saw you wear them—never
watched you twist the levers into slits
on cuffed shirts, or slip your arm into
the sleeve of a pinstriped suit.
Your work clothes were heavy twill—
drawstring pants, an apron—
you left at midnight with them
stashed in a canvas sack, and headed
deep into the Bronx.
Over time, they wore and frayed,
stained with jelly and chocolate.
In middle school, after Home Ec
ended, you surprised me with the
sewing machine. In late afternoon,
at the dinette, you cut patches
while I mended holes and edges.
My toe touched the pedal, the machine
whirred—you asked me to print
your initials inside along the seams.
William Heath has published three poetry books, The Walking Man, Steel Valley Elegy, and Going Places; a chapbook, Night Moves in Ohio; three novels: The Children Bob Moses Led (winner of the Hackney Award), Devil Dancer, and Blacksnake’s Path; a work of history, William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest (winner of two Spur Awards); a collection of interviews, Conversations with Robert Stone. Visit: www.williamheathbooks.com
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by William Heath and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
In the middle of the night
my metaphysical moment:
old guy, prostate, that story.
Shuffling my Frankenstein
amble down the hall
I sit and piss in dribs
and drabs several times
each night as the years
slide away. I’m not
the first, nor the last,
this is the way the world
goes for all us old guys.
Eyes dim, pins shot,
my ticker sometimes
skips a tock.
A few hours of sleep,
then a few more,
until one day
that last alarm rings.