November 25-December 1, 2002: Lori Williams and Stephanie Rogers

week of November 25-December 1, 2002

Lori Williams and Stephanie Rogers

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Lori Williams

Bio (auto)

Lori is a born and bred New Yorker who works as a legal assistant in the publishing field She has been writing since her early teens, is the mother of one teen-age son and one loveable feline, and thinks poetry has saved her thousands of dollars in therapy fees through the years Her work has been published in over 35 print and on-line publications, including canwehaveourballback, The Melic Review, Poems Neiderngasse, Atomic Petals,  BigCityLit, BlueFifth Review, Wicked Alice and Dakota House Journal and is upcoming in Artemis Journal’s 25th Anniversary issue.

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Lori Williams and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Watching Eva Wither

Years ago, you swallowed her digs
with your little blue pills and whatever
brew was on sale at Waldbaum’s You’d call, slurring and weepy,
to say you were starting that grapefruit
diet, to say you wanted to slice off

your 40DD’s (won’t I look thinner?),
to say
———-you wanted to die Call me Eva, she’d insist, as if
a blond bouffant and jutting ribs
disavowed motherhood

————-Did you hear
the Cohen girl is a Sears model? Perfect
size 5, that Myrna They must be so proud!
Even when you married the Jets player
in ’69, sure such a catch would cause
her tongue to still, she began to obsess
about Joe Willie Maybe if you were thin
Now, your folds comfort her
The shape she mocked at her Mah Jong table
swaddles her in safety, allows her bones
a place to rest Her skin is transparent,
nothing left between flesh and departure
Have you seen her
————-heart yet?

Eva’s Swans

She sits at the window watching swans
all day They swim in the pond, back and forth,
with a rhythm that calms her fear Most are white, 
but she saw a black one on Monday, 

smaller than the rest, unable to grab a floating crust It looked weak and the others pushed it away
with their wings Finally, it swam across the pond, 
alone, and she cried
Even from bed she can see their shadows
when her eyes open at dawn and her lips
part for the first pill and sip of water Their necks
are aligned with each slat of the vertical blinds, 

she tells her daughter; so perfect, 
the way they line up, like their world is just so, 
everything where it belongs
Am I going home soon?


Eva picks diamonds from trees;
elms and willows growing through
IV’s and a port-a-potty She plucks
the big ones, chuckles as her knotty
fingers stick them in the pillowcase
The tiny diamonds left are the eyes
of Treblinka, shiny and winking
like her cousin Morris used to
She mixes them with applesauce, 
nibbles, then takes an overdue nap


Mary’s room is full of men;
doctors and orderlies with dark skin, 
the kind that makes her shudder They come in and out,
pretend to listen to her heart, yet stethoscopes
are her husband’s fingers, ears are lips that glisten
with spittle and lust She cannot move
to push them away, away from her bust
and belly, and the other place cold and dry
She doesn’t really try, and the dark men listen


Irving poaches pears; bartlett and bosc, 
in a small poacher he made from a bedpan
His chef’s hat sits at a tilt on his head, 
and he hums and bastes, takes orders
from his rumpled bed He cuts his thumb
on a stem, runs naked down the corridor
screaming for his mother, the best pear poacher
on Flatbush Avenue, circa 1922.

Stephanie Rogers

Bio (auto)

Currently, I live in Columbus, Ohio and attend The Ohio State University, home of the undefeated Buckeye football team (that’s right — we beat Michigan) I’m in the process of applying to MFA programs for next fall I’ve been published recently in canwehaveourballback, Unlikely Stories, and Poems Niederngasse

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Stephanie Rogers and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Working at the Movie Theater Concession Stand

It’s not my fault the cup
lid creased, your drink
dripped down your sweater
We stared a moment,
my face the color of leander,
yours a fiery tulip,
strands of hair
framing it like leaves
I wanted to tell you
my boyfriend screwed
my friend yesterday,
that it wasn’t my fault
my eyes filled up,
dripped in your popcorn
But I handed you
a new cup instead,

our fingers lingered,
condensation trickled
in their embrace I wanted to tell you
it wasn’t your fault,
but it wouldn’t have been enough.

Bedroom Ache

I never uttered that loose word; I only said,
“I opened my legs and let him “

— from “The Body” by Jenny Boully

Hunger is heaving each food droplet
that hits your stomach It’s embarrassment

over blood in your underwear, hiding
them from your father in couch cushions,

bottoms of hampers It’s the blindfold
stuck with blood that drips

from where he carved his name, the cotton
whites of your thighs, waiting
It’s the thirst of two tongues, the pelvic
birthmark exposed, his mouth

tasting the bronze discoloration, you lying
naked in your parents’ bed,

with him on top of you
closer than bone.

The Arrow 

Middletown dad kills son in deer-hunting accident
–Zanesville, Ohio

Before the diaphragm’s final
contraction, the lung’s last release, did he
shout out, call my name,

think of me

patching scraped knees, digging
splinters from swollen fingers?

Or did he reach

between shoulder blades, feel
the arrow’s feathered tip like a flag marking

territory, the autumn breeze rustling his jacket hood, fall
backward, stain the mildewed grass with his death-

print, diminishing life, look into the eyes
of his father and say


Pissing My Pants at Work

Drunk at work, I pissed
my pants, tripped into the stall

and smashed
my face My hair dripped wet
from the toilet, head stuck

to the seat, a plastic pillow
keeping me from drowning
I wonder what might happen
in Japan, where toilets come

equipped with spraying
water, temp controls, deodorizers,
neutralizing smells
I could check my body fat
percentage all inside
a twenty second piss
But here
the bathroom’s just another place
to sit and drink

and fuck and cry.

Cart-Boy Drives Drunk

I listen to him, then burst into a thick
cackle overhearing, Life is an a-hole,
or maybe the cock that rams
the a-hole
He’s having a conversation
with my profile I see my mother
handing me my jacket, asking,
“Honey, is he okay to drive?” 

The interstate lines blur
into single rows, then stretch
back to dotted boundaries That same
slow fuck from earlier has passed. 
The speakers sing “The Only
Living Boy in New York” but we
don’t sing along This is the song
that reminds him of his father, the mis-
diagnosis being too late. 

Why is it always too late
for something? If he’d pulled
out a second before — I might not be alive
It’s too late to unstart the conversation,
our fathers dead–his buried, mine gone
I say, “Fuck it — you know what we’re living
for, the poetry, the music –” He cuts
me off, says, Yeah, that cart-
boy job is going real well, I’m having
an f-ing blast.

“Does it matter? My dad’s here —
just a phone call away
and a 40 minute drive You’re right —
he’s not dead, but how hard is it to live
in your daughter’s imagination?”

I don’t get sympathy, I get
symptoms of stomach cancer: the indigestion,
nausea, loss of appetite I scream,

“Fuck you ” He swerves into a cone
pulls over I open
the car door, vomit, slam it shut, curl
into the fetal position, sleep

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