January 29 – February 24, 2024: Poetry from Ron Kolm and Rachael Ikins

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Ron Kolm

Ron Kolm is a contributing editor of Sensitive Skin. Ron is the author of Divine Comedy, Night Shift, A Change in the Weather, Welcome to the Barbecue, Swimming in the Shallow End and The Bookstore Book: A Memoir. He’s had work in And Then, The Café Review, Gathering of the Tribes, Great Weather for Media, Maintenant, Live Mag!, Local Knowledge, NYC From the Inside, The Opiate, the Poets of Queens anthology, The Red Wheelbarrow, the Riverside Poets Anthology, The Silver Tongued Devil anthology, Sparring With Beatnik Ghosts Omnibus and the Brownstone Poets anthologies. Ron’s papers were purchased by the New York University Library.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Ron Kolm and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Engineer

During World War Two
My father worked for Boeing,
In Seattle, helping to design
The B-29 Superfortress,
The plane that would later drop
Atomic bombs on Japan.

He ended the war
Working for Dravo
Corporation, in Pittsburgh,
Where landing craft were built
That deposited tanks
On Omaha Beach
During D-Day.

After the war
He taught at Lehigh University
And then finally got a job
In Philly, where he became
The Chief Engineer of the
Delaware River Port Authority.

Whenever there were problems
On the Benjamin Franklin or
Walt Whitman suspension bridges,
Old man Kolm, wearing a white
Hard hat, would check them out
And then decide on what
Should be done to fix them.

He was important enough
To be invited to meetings
In the World Trade Center,
In New York City.

I was living in the city then
And I’d eat lunch with him,
Then we’d walk to the entrance way,
Where armed security always
Barred me from entering.
I’d say goodbye to him
As he disappeared
Inside the towering building.

Years later, when his health
Was failing, he was admitted
To a hospital in New Jersey,
Not too far from the Hudson River.
He could see the Trade Center
From his window.

He was still in the hospital,
Suffering from dementia,
When 9/11 happened.
That was the final nail
In his coffin, and he died soon after.
He will be remembered.

Rachael Ikins

Rachael Ikins is a 2016/18 Pushcart, 2013/18 CNY Book Award nominee, 2018 Independent Book Award winner, & 2019 Vinnie Ream & 2019/2021 Faulkner finalist. A 2021 Best of the Net nominee, 2023 Editors Choice Award from Studio B. October 2023 2nd prize and an HM from Northwind Writing Competition sponsored by Raw Earth Ink, Alaska. Ikins is a Fingerlakes born author/illustrator of multiple books in multiple genres, including her most recent title The Woman With Three Elbows. Her work appears in journals such as the Muddy River Poetry Review, Owl Light, Literary Turning Points, The Mason Street Review, Broadkill Review, Fly on the Wall Press UK, Synkroniciti, the Red Wheelbarrow, S/tick, Dragon Poet Review, Indigo Blue online UK, Cider Press Review, Syracuse Poster Project, The Healing Muse, The Pen Woman Magazine, Avocet, Moonstone Press, anthologies from IndieBlue Press, The Brave (Clare Songbirds Publishing House), Spontaneity Review, Ireland, and many others. Visit Rachael on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Rachael Ikins and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


to take stock, the darkening.
I cut the carcass into pieces, crack bones. Garden offers stones and splinters.
Rosemary for remembrance, my mother’s name was RoseMarie. Friends called her Rosie. She never learned to knit, preferred earth under her nails, knees on dirt.

We stick post-it notes on everything. 
Cats, dogs, piss a tree trunk, mailbox post, neighbors walking by sniff. Age, sex, fertility, and the one who drowns all previous drips with an authoritative splash, boss. 

No bombs, no hostages, starving children, foil blankets, parents murdered.  Babies cry silver in cages. No embroidered jackets. 

Moon sinks behind outstretched maple hands, fingers grasping, a drowning child. She may cry out, nobody weaves Her a rope except two sparrows tucked into the dilapidated birdhouse tacked by my front door. 

This poem keeps unraveling,  the moon grasps at its skeins, a life raft, but slippery silk slides away. Earth turns her face like someone’s mother, morning staggers to its feet stinking of wet wool. I stir stock, three year old Abby now home, an orphan. Terror simmers, quilts the house rosemary and sage and I tell you, 
knit your own name.

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