Editors Blog

2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 20

I’ve been playing with forms a little this month. It’s something I do when I start to feel a little stuck in my writing. Imposing rules–oddly enough–seems to free me up a bit. So far this month, I’ve written a villanelle, sestina, a couple sonnets, and even a couple haiku on the side. As you’ll see below, I went all triolet on today’s prompt.

For today’s prompt, write a family poem. I’ve actually written a few poems about my family this month already, but you don’t have to restrict yourself to your own family. There are any number of human families, of course, but also animals, insects, and other organisms. Plus, there are “families” of other types as well. As usual, feel free to bend the prompt to your favor.


Get feedback on your poetry!

If you want some professional feedback on your poeming efforts, the Writer’s Digest Advanced Poetry Writing course is a great place to start.

Click here for more details.


Here’s my attempt at a Family Poem:


Tammy asks us all to hold hands
as Will and Hannah lead the prayer
so fast that no one understands
Tammy asks us all to hold hands
and the boys make their food demands
while I start to growl like a bear
Tammy asks us all to hold hands
as Will and Hannah lead the prayer.


Today’s guest judge is…

Scott Owens

Scott Owens

Scott Owens

Originally from Greenwood, SC, Scott holds degrees from Ohio University, UNC Charlotte, and UNC Greensboro. He currently lives in Hickory, NC, where he teaches at Catawba Valley Community College, edits Wild Goose Poetry Review and serves as vice-president of the NC Poetry Society.

His 11th book of poetry, Eye of the Beholder, was recently released by Main Street Rag.

His work has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Next Generation/Indie Lit Awards, the NC Writers Network, the NC Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of SC.

Learn more here: http://www.scottowenspoet.com/.


PYHO_Small_200x200Poem Your Heart Out

Poems, Prompts & Room to Add Your Own for the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

Words Dance Publishing is offering 20% off pre-orders for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology until May 1st! If you’d like to learn a bit more about our vision for the book, when it will be published, among other details.

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. He thinks family is very, very important–no matter what structure that family takes. Learn more about Robert here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


Share these poetic posts with your family:

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts

509 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 20

  1. taylor graham


    Handmade of sensible fabrics – cotton and wool
    from old trousers and shirts, dresses and rags –
    nothing goes to waste. Sober white and browns –
    walnut and clay, oak and chert, manzanita bark,
    dry-wash sand. Pattern four-square as forebears,
    each square a frame within a larger frame as if
    looking in and out at the same time, but crossed
    by an X of diagonal squares – as families never
    are quite straightforward – the diamonds remind
    me of mountains at the edge of flat, tillable plain.
    Seldom festive. Yet quilting means thanksgiving,
    remembering old scraps of life, making them
    a comfort, squares in squares, a garden plot, each
    stitch a seed. It would be ungrateful to fold this
    quilt in a trunk; ungrateful to past for the future.

  2. Angie5804

    From my Womb

    And then there was you
    A comfort in sadness
    Someone to hold to my breast when
    I cried
    The one I sang to
    Who once said “I’ll never leave you”
    But I knew you would
    I knew you should
    But not like this
    Never like this
    In my heart I know
    I lost you a long time ago

    Angie Bell

  3. stepstep


    A family is like a rainbow
    Represented by many species
    Accompanied by various traits and characteristics
    Molded together.

    Real families stick together
    Support never comes into question
    When duty calls
    Love finds an answer.

    Love trumps all
    Regardless of the situation
    It permeates at family gatherings
    To make family first priority.

    Family is the foundation
    To ground you, to keep you stable
    No matter what
    There’s nothing like a good, solid family.


  4. IndiFox


    You peeled away
    Created your own family
    One that isn’t damaged like ours
    Of one you could be proud
    I guess I don’t blame you
    I’d want the same thing
    But it feels like you’re shutting me out
    It’s like you’re taking your family
    And leaving town
    I don’t want it to end this way
    I couldn’t bear to be without you
    But I guess I don’t blame you
    Out of all of us
    You turned out the best
    So you deserve
    All the love you get

  5. shethra77

    Family Vacation

    What a July it was.
    All of us went down to visit Mama Edna
    in her huge wooden house in Hope Mills.
    Each of us had one of the beds from her apartment rooms,
    huge low things that I, at first, felt lost in.
    Gerry, Dee, and I did not know what to do,
    so we tried church, and no church, and got limited
    library privileges.
    We rode our bicycles everywhere (although I still
    don’t remember how the bikes got there).
    We gathered old soda pop bottles to get the nickels—
    nearly bankrupted the store owner, I think—he started to
    hide when we showed up. Mike cut his foot on a
    piece of his bike, so Daddy took him to the hospital to
    get it sewn up, because it would not stop and left a
    puddle on the kitchen’s clean linoleum rug.
    I can’t remember what Mama did, but she was busy
    with baby Maria, and I think mostly hung with Mama Edna
    talking, making food, or doing laundry. Daddy spent time on his
    piece of land—it adjoined Mama’s—trying to whack it
    into shape with a machete. Little Gary’s hair turned
    platinum blond from constant sun, and we all tanned.
    Daddy hung tire swings from two
    ancient pecan trees the size of young skyscrapers,
    and we fought over whose turn it was, and ate fallen pecans pried
    out of their fruits. Once a horsefly bit me, and I
    ran in circles and screamed.
    Didn’t know you had to hit ‘em.
    A week later Dee got nailed by another horsefly
    and did the same thing.
    We ate fried fish and hushpuppies, drank a load of iced tea,
    and tried to keep cool. We went to the pond to swim and
    Gary’s ear got infected—
    another trip to the hospital.
    Sometimes we watched for
    the endless trains—counted hundreds of cars of
    orange juice, headed north.
    When we came home, my old bed seemed much too small and high,
    and I was afraid I’d fall off. But I didn’t.

  6. ianchandler


    The Chris of his name,
    the Christ in his name,
    the Chris in my name,
    the Christ in my name.

    Holes––the holes in His hands and feet,
    the hole in his throat,
    the hole in my whole.

    The sacrifice of Life,
    the sacrifice of life,
    the sacrifice of life.

    My Father,
    my father.

    I learned rules in a monastery
    of bloody knuckles

    I flipped through magazines of other people’s skin

    I searched the countryside
    for something it would not surrender


    I have forgotten
    what it means
    to be a man.

    I think.

  7. Rolf Erickson


    Do I know you from somewhere?
    We’re so similar, our likes and dislikes.
    Where we hang out, and what we do.
    We have the same friends.
    Walk the same path through the woods.

    It’s almost uncanny.
    Is that the right word?
    You would know.

    We’re not supposed to have favorites,
    but of everyone in my family
    you are without a doubt closest.

    And when we lay down at night
    and fall asleep alone together,
    that’s when I know I am truly loved.

    As are you.
    As are we.
    As one.

  8. Susan Budig


    I dreamt I met Jimmy Carter
    A father-figure who towered high
    More than salt, he’s cream of tartar
    I dreamt I met Jimmy Carter
    A humble path, he did charter
    To his ideals, I must apply
    I dreamt I met Jimmy Carter
    A father-figure who towered high

    1. Susan Budig

      Sigh. It’s hard to keep this straight. I didn’t mean to double-post, but I inadvertently did. I wrote to this prompt earlier this week and then somehow wrote another one, Hero. Please do not consider it. My first submission, Really, is the one I intended.

  9. larrywlawrence


    I was probably 3 or 4 when
    she first encouraged me to
    create art, always plenty of
    markers, crayons, paper.
    And I love her for that.

    I was probably 5 or 6 when
    she first taught me to
    love plants, flowers like
    forsythia, hyacinths, lilacs.
    And I love her for that.

    I was probably 7 or 8 when
    she first pushed me to
    read books, thick books on
    history, animals, mythology.
    And I love her for that.

    I was probably 9 or 10 when
    she said nothing as he turned
    his anger on me, wish she’d
    said “Stop”, that first time.
    And I can’t forgive her for that.

  10. Reynard

    forever my family
    through happy- through sad
    to the best of my ability
    through good- through bad

    through happy- through sad
    supporting our reality
    through good- through bad
    they offer a stability

    supporting our reality
    their love is ironclad
    they offer a stability
    a soft landing pad

    their love is ironclad
    an exercise in love’s totality
    a soft landing pad
    I consider this normality

    an exercise in love’s totality
    to the best of my ability
    I consider this normality
    forever my family

  11. PenConnor

    Sisters (a tanka)

    sisters share secrets
    like short skirts and red lipstick
    laughing whispers grin
    argue fierce over car keys
    kiss and make up on facebook

  12. Jay Sizemore


    A family is a shared history,
    occupants aboard a metaphysical rocket
    propelled through the years
    until time seems to blend
    into a blurred stand of images,
    a fiber optic cable of sensation
    that connects us to a starting point,
    no matter the exploded fragments
    separating into space,
    the ties remain,
    and what feels like an empty sky
    is the parachute
    that cushions our fall
    back to loneliness,
    where we find strangers waiting
    to help build another vessel
    intended for that fiery flight.

  13. horselovernat

    Expanding the Tree by Natalie Gasper

    Take a look in a dictionary, any one will do,
    and the definition of family will always be the same.
    Family is defined as a group of people related by
    blood or marriage, and tracked through descent.
    This definition makes it clear why so few
    people care about the world beyond their door.

    Imagine for a moment, if this concept were
    to be erased, forgotten by all, and a new
    understanding was to take its place.
    What if family was measured by love that is given,
    shared, fought for, and protected?

    By this means my family is so large that one
    might mistake me for being Greek.
    To start, I have a sweet mother, funny father,
    dorky brother, adoring grandpa, artsy aunt,
    an opinionated uncle, a handful of cousins,
    and an amazing god-family.

    There’s also my loyal, sweet, ever-loving dog and
    a horse whose will power is stronger than steel.
    I count these two because, like my human family,
    they have always been there for me in times of need,
    are good for hugs, and listen to my ramblings.

    Last but by no means least are my friends.
    Mine come in all kinds and shapes and sizes,
    each one holds a special place in my heart
    and has affected me in profound ways.
    Without them, I may not have become the person I am.

    If everyone thought about family this way,
    then perhaps the world would be better for it.
    Everyone caring more for their neighbors
    and coworkers, always remembering to be grateful
    for how much love they truly have in their lives.

  14. Linda.H

    Reposting my haibun since the first one didn’t copy over correctly. Please disregard first post. (Sorry, Robert.)

    Light Fog

    “It’s not that everything is cloaked in a thick cloud of white; shapes and forms and colors come through but are muted as if fairies spun a layer of light lace all over the place, hazy and crazy with light shining through tiny cracks here and there. Visibility is blurred but I still recognize you, and if the fog thickens and all goes white then I will know you by your voice.”

    I hadn’t exactly understood what grandma was trying to explain about her eyes, but I saw the sadness in them, watched them grow misty as she spoke. Only years later did it become clear to me.

    mourning dove
    hastily takes flight before
    camera focuses

    Linda E.H.

  15. Linda.H

    I am trying a haibun today.

    ight Fog

    “It’s not that everything is cloaked in a thick cloud of white; shapes and forms and colors come through but are muted as if fairies spun a layer of light lace all over the place, hazy and crazy with light shining through tiny cracks here and there. Visibility is blurred but I know who you are.
    And if the fog thickens and all goes white then I will know you by your voice.”

    I hadn’t exactly understood what grandma was trying to explain about her eyes, but I saw the sadness in them, watched them grow misty as she spoke. Only years later did it become clea to me.

    mourning dove
    hastily takes flight before
    camera focuses

    Linda E.H.

  16. Liliuokalani

    What It Means to Be Related

    We separate two creatures by name
    like we part two sentences with a period.
    Except sovereign statements touch
    seams that stitch stories,
    while one creature touches the other
    with wooden poles and pumice,
    removing hairs, then
    flaying, soaking and stretching
    the other’s skin
    thin to parchment,
    enscribes his credentials
    then hangs it on his wall.

  17. Alaska Christina

    A Seat at the Queen’s Table

    I sit small and quiet
    Perched on a hard wooden chair
    A peasant wilting and still
    Seeking sustenance
    Throw me a bone
    A scrap of meat
    I’m famished
    My plate is empty
    My cup is dry
    My stomach is hollow
    Fingers clenched tightly around a fork
    Gripping hope
    And you stand
    Buddha-like and perched
    Looming over me
    Lord and master over this bounty of denial.

  18. Michelle Murrish

    By Michelle Murrish

    Love ‘em or leave ‘em
    It’s a truth, we all need them
    They’re our muse for our writings
    The cause of our pain
    The joy in our beings
    And we call them the same:
    A family. Together forever in name
    It’s friendship, and rivalry
    All rolled up and done
    And so love them or leave them
    We all come from one

  19. Yolee


    My three sisters and I made mud pies outside
    a few times when the community got a “good
    sweeping.” My four brothers ran their own
    knucklehead events for as long as we’ve been related.

    We were a family of ten by the time I was eleven years old
    growing up in a one bedroom apartment on a Chicago
    corner that saw gang abuses, transients sleeping outside
    a stone faced hotel and cross dressers who always
    climbed in cars with tinted windows.

    We were usually in church, school, home,
    or at the grocery store. I never
    feared those that cut across
    or set roots in my neighborhood.

    Some of the church goers from the storefront
    property had little to no tolerance for the kind
    whom colored city corners. They confused
    love thy neighbor for legalistic reviews. I
    imagined spirits, too small for their weighty
    existence constantly bumping
    into bones, nerves and hearts.

    But they were all were like distant relatives
    who can’t call you by name, but whose
    footprint attracted common dirt.

  20. stargypsy

    My Mother’s Eyes

    Brilliant Blue
    Filled with Love
    Fun loving

    My mother’s
    Eyes were
    and Caring

    She was wildly

    My mother’s
    A thing

    She loved
    Gardening & Canning
    Sewing & Crocheting
    Could do

    My mother’s
    Eyes were
    Creative and

    She loved
    To DANCE
    Would travel
    For Miles

    My mother’s
    Eyes were
    The Window
    To HER

    She loved
    ALL People
    Did anything
    for Anyone

    My mother’s
    Eyes were
    Loving and

    She traveled
    With my father
    for 45 years

    My mother’s
    Eyes were
    Always fun

    She stood
    The test
    of Time

    My mother’s
    Eyes closed
    Forever much
    Too SOON

    @2014 Annie – Original Poetry

  21. Heidi


    My mother’s eyes are smoky jade
    fog veiling the rabbit, arrow pierced,

    lies bleeding on damp fields, wild
    these eyes are lone coos of lake loons

    skim the chilled lake, the tide tugs on
    sand crusted toes patter on scrubbed

    pine, freckled cheeks and bare arms
    burnt raw my mother’s eyes.

    Heidi R. de Contreras

  22. Penny Henderson


    Coleus looks far removed
    from fragrant Spearmint,
    but its square stem tells the tale.
    Below the leaves of Bergamot
    and Lemon Balm their stems
    bear testimonial corners.
    A family resemblance
    runs though all variations

  23. Mariya Koleva


    Far from the wind
    blowing straight at my face,
    disturbing my eye-lashes,
    leaving my eyes dry and stingy;

    far from the harshness of gusts and hails
    howling and clattering at my windows,
    trying to break down the shaken shutters
    and strip off the peeling sallow paint,

    is family
    of which I have read many a nauseating stories
    some of them bringing tears to my eyes,
    some of them leaving me happy
    with the lack of any such story to tell.

  24. Susan Budig

    I realized an error in my submission of Really. So here it is corrected.


    The nursery magic had happened to him,
    and he was a toy no longer.
    He was Real.
    The Boy himself had said it.

    Ford had learned how to change the baby’s diaper,
    swing him like a football during the witching hour
    and check the bathwater temp with his elbow.
    He loved the boy’s mother who he had married
    before full disclosure. Thus he certainly wasn’t
    the father. Their April wedding happened on a whim.
    He questioned his own wisdom.
    They’d been married ten months now;
    the only lullaby Ford sang was a hymn
    for the nursery magic had happened to him.

    Zebadiah, limbs akimbo in Ford’s arms, crying his throat raw
    but Ford kept pacing the screened-in porch
    hoping the neighbors wouldn’t mind too much.
    He wished he could call his own mother
    and ask for advice or a remedy or even a hand
    but Ford’s single-mother had taken the dive
    into her own hell-hole; he was the stronger
    of the two. With Zebadiah’s mama at work, Ford needed to
    rely on his own inner-fortitude. The tonic, he’d conjure,
    for he was a toy no longer.

    It’s not that Ford didn’t feel for the boy, feel
    pity and maybe a bit of kinship; they were both
    bastards after all. That kind of talk was his mother’s
    mouth running, sharp on the tongue and piercing
    Zeb didn’t take after his mama and he’d never
    match Ford. Someone looked like a third wheel
    but no one could tell who was the spare
    Ford was sure the neighbors gossiped
    Now Ginny was showing, could no longer conceal
    Ford was certain this next kid would make him feel Real.

    Ginny climbed in the car, “Zeb will have a new
    brother or sister soon,” she breathed, waving
    goodbye as Zebadiah stood with Mrs. Paulsen
    next door. Ford touched the shoulder of his pseudo-son,
    offered a quick squeeze before the drive
    to the hospital would finally acquit
    Ford’s notion that he was a papa ad hoc; he wanted to
    feel like he’d done all the work. Zeb’s arms locked around
    Ford’s knees, “Daddy, I love you, don’t forget,”
    breaking his heart, Ford was already Real. The Boy himself had said it.

    –some lines from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

  25. SuziBwritin


    Ahh mommy and daddy and
    sister and bro
    the immediates of the family we know
    aunties and uncles and
    cousins and kin
    the extended part of the family we’re in
    Some of ‘em we would never be friends
    if we didn’t have bloodlines to share
    and some of ‘em we don’t know what we
    would do if we didn’t have them to care
    after the hubbies and wifeys
    in-laws come marchin’ in too
    to make up a circle of family complete
    where in the center is you

  26. Deri


    is thicker than water,
    the saying goes.
    It congeals in the veins,
    clogs the heart
    and mind, making everything
    clouded and heavy
    until you bog down,
    somnolent and weary.
    Words like chains
    bind you to the ones
    who wield love like a prison.

    The lucky ones
    break free,
    cracking the harden plaque
    with deep breaths
    of sweet relief, leaving behind
    those bitter chains.
    Living with veracity
    that only comes
    once they realize
    family has nothing
    to do with

  27. LeighSpencer

    Family Tree

    One side

    Fruit and shade
    enough for everyone


    For sitting

    The other side

    Black and barren


    give way
    for splinters
    and dark thoughts

    Equal care yields
    equal gifts
    in accordance with the true nature
    of each side

    I cannot deny
    I am of one whole tree

    Not always belonging
    on the side of light and Spring

    Finding occasional comfort
    in the gnarling dark

  28. Blaise

    family jewels

    my blood betrays me
    hidden tides
    flood and drain
    in an arcane
    silent rhythm
    my youth and health
    genetic gravity
    will prevail
    which grandfather
    or parent
    will bequeath
    the malady that
    drowns my vitality
    my mobility
    my ability to eat or walk
    and finally to breathe
    yet still
    thanks are called for
    it is not yet fulfilled
    i wrote this poem
    didn’t I?

  29. Susan Budig


    The nursery magic had happened to him,
    and he was a toy no longer.
    He was Real. The Boy himself had said it.

    Ford had learned how to change the baby’s diaper,
    swing him like a football during the witching hour
    and check the bathwater temp with his elbow.
    He loved the boy’s mother who he had married
    before full disclosure. Thus he certainly wasn’t
    the kid’s father. He questioned his own wisdom.
    The April wedding happened on a whim.
    They’d been married ten months now;
    the only songs Ford sang were hymns
    for the nursery magic had happened to him.

    Zebadiah, limbs akimbo in Ford’s arms, crying his throat raw
    but Ford kept pacing the screened-in porch
    hoping the neighbors wouldn’t mind too much.
    He wished he could call his own mother
    and ask for advice or a remedy or even a hand
    but Ford’s single-mother had taken the dive
    into her own hell-hole; he was the stronger
    of the two. With Zeb’s mama at work, Ford needed to
    rely on his own inner-fortitude. The tonic, he’d conjure,
    for he was a toy no longer

    Ford’s wife climbed in the car, “Zeb will have a new
    brother or sister soon,” she cooed, waving
    goodbye as Zebadiah stood with Aunty Sallie from
    next door. Ford picked up his pseudo-son,
    to offer a quick squeeze before the drive
    to the hospital made him a genuine father,
    not a father ad hoc, but one where he’d feel
    like he’d done all the work. Zeb’s arms locked around
    Ford’s neck, “Daddy, I love you.”
    breaking Ford’s heart, he was already Real.

    The Boy himself had said it.

    –some lines from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Smith

    tags: Mindful Poetry, glosa

  30. lethejerome

    “Rivière Rouge”

    There was a wedding and no one
    is around to tell the story.

    The name remains
    name remains
    La Tuque,
    marking an island,
    marking beauty
    in the wait the
    that accompanies
    an exit
    without secrecy, simply
    unspoken. There is no story,
    only a sequence of

    The name
    remains La Tuque
    but I
    have seen rapids,
    rocks smoothed over, in a week off from real
    school, disjointed
    memories from a thirteen-year
    old recently
    displaced and disoriented
    . That name
    marking the loss the fall,
    marking beauty,
    hundreds of miles away
    but joining
    the same river
    where I would grow
    downstream from her children;
    the same name
    that forks with the Assiniboine.

    She, Atikamekw, the
    extent the
    life the
    meaning lost and lost
    on us now;
    she, married, settled
    on other lands of other
    displaced women and names
    histories of fur trade and forts
    her grandson would help
    turn into history;
    she, in the skin of aunts and cousins,
    quiet in them as
    in me when the sun
    attacks my cells.

    Jérôme Melançon

  31. David Walker

    Love and

    When I asked you to marry me,
    we both knew of my family – the

    divorced, underemployed, scrappers
    who desperately wanted to find a nucleus.

    We both knew your family – the
    happily-married, ladder-climbing,

    self-makers who knew exactly when
    and where dinner was every night.

    The table both our families sit across
    is as wide as a king’s. And there we

    both are, clasping hands like an unevenly
    matched red rover game, determined

    not to break.

  32. PSC in CT


    He’s been tracing his tree;
    thinks finding this missing link
    is like winning the lottery,
    hitting the jackpot.

    He’s tracked town records and ancient papers,
    found numerous greats in a number of places
    (during multiple major events). Can document them
    (names, dates, births, weddings, deaths)
    over a dozen generations, while I
    can barely see past three.

    Still, we know more.
    Our DNA proclaims us cousins.

    All we humans – along with wildlife & creatures:
    beasts & bugs, shrubs, flowers & trees
    (mayflowers, bleeding hearts, redwoods,
    wolves, apes & honeybees)
    are children of one mother.
    Everyone I know and all the friends
    I’ve yet to meet.

    If you can’t see eye to eye
    with your relatives nearby
    befriend a distant cousin.
    Family is wherever you find it.


  33. lidywilks


    Let’s pretend I could still suckle my children to my tits.
    Let’s pretend their swaddled cries were still there only
    means of speech and let’s pretend their father,
    equipmentless, could do everything in my place.
    Let’s pretend we’re the Jones’, taking family vacations
    that’d normally bounce and topple our bank,
    visiting cities we dared not to dream of, post it online
    and watch as it goes viral spurred by envy.
    But the real show is not the one done onstage.
    Beyond the curtains, a circus is brewing with the
    male lead, a short fused father, chases his oldest.
    The second lead, an aggrieved and blustering son,
    chases the third lead, the jester and younger brother,
    who has stolen and framed their beloved toys, happily
    evades them as I, the greatest star, stomach stitched
    and bursting watch her three kids bring down the house.

    by Lidy Wilks

  34. Pengame30


    They’re the only people who you can love the most but can’t stand,
    the ones who always have your back, but never do anything for you.
    They’e the ones who you lend money to, and you know deep in your heart
    that you’ll never get it back, but that’s okay, because they’re family.

    Written By: Sean Drew

  35. Linda Hatton

    Family Tree

    Family shouldn’t equal famished,
    eat your energy, leave behind
    the yucky parts they didn’t want.
    Family yums up all of you, the good,
    the bad, the rotten, too. Wrapping
    arms around melancholy limbs,
    family climbs to the top
    just to touch you, without knowing,
    plucks and pulls you down
    to place you in protected pockets,
    then polishes your outsides,
    eats you up, working their way through
    the middle, admiring your core, planting seeds
    to grow another just like you
    because you were so tasty, so delicious,
    they had to have another you to desire,
    to admire. Unaware
    they were leaving you scattered.

    –Linda G Hatton

  36. Scott Jacobson


    Evolution leaves you bald slots,
    hammer toes, diabetes,
    and social anxiety problems.
    Uncle William leaves you
    a toupee and his collection
    of playboy magazines
    along with a large plot
    of swamp land so you
    can contract malaria.
    Your grandpa leaves
    you his wooden dentures
    and the deck of cards
    responsible for loosing
    your inheritance.
    Aunt Violet leaves you
    her hope chest
    full of cat hair.
    The past sits peacefully
    in artifacts
    all around your television
    sheilding you from the fear
    that the ones you loved
    have all disappeared.
    Anything left of them
    that was truly beautiful
    sits encoded inside you.

  37. Mustang Sal

    Family Resemblance

    Don’t blink when you watch
    your granddaughter playing,
    or you’ll see your
    mother/sister/daughter running by.

    Time plays its tricks.
    Years laugh.
    Memory mocks the mind.

    All join together
    and the parade starts.
    You’ll have to hustle to
    keep time to that music.

  38. gloryia

    Remembrance [20]

    Dad, did I ever tell you,
    sure I did, remember
    how we laughed, when with
    my two arms tight
    around your neck,
    I touched your cheek
    with my lips –

    ‘A kiss to remember’
    you said, and now
    here I am wanting to say
    ‘Happy Birthday Dad,
    I love you.’
    Yes, love, and tears, always,
    I remember it well -

  39. gloryia

    Unkind Heart

    He was a kind man
    thinking always of others
    and he loved his children
    especially Janine,
    his only daughter.

    Sorry to say, Janine,
    did not give back
    what she had in abundance,
    no she did not give back
    at all, rather she took,
    and, until left with
    nothing, she took that too
    when she broke his heart.

  40. Snow Write

    Fostered by “the system”
    Angered with this lifestyle
    Military dropout
    Ill at ease in marriage
    Loving just his children
    Yearning for connection

  41. Emma

    Unconscious Lessons

    I learnt compliance from my mother.
    This is how I learn to be a woman,
    Always fearing confrontation:
    A people pleaser, never pleased herself.

  42. hojawile

    Cliché Touché

    Do you live in a barn?
    Why, yes, yes, I do. Why do you ask?
    Don’t get smart with me!
    Not much chance of that, I suppose…
    The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.
    This place is a pig sty!
    No doubt about it.
    I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!
    Out? I’d love to go out!
    Where are you going?
    Don’t make me come back there!
    Are we there yet?
    How many times do I have to tell you?
    I SAID, “How many times do I have to tell you?”
    Go to your room!
    Where do you think you’re going?
    Are you having one of those senior moments?
    Who do you think you are?
    Don’t you remember? I’m the one who lives in a barn.
    Ugh. Someone remind me why we adopted a talking pig?!

  43. Pengame30


    They’re the only people who you can love the most but can’t stand,
    the ones who always have your back, but never do anything for you.
    They’e the ones who you lend money to, and you know deep in your heart
    that you’ll never get it back.

    Written By: Sean Drew

  44. BezBawni

    To my Pouting Sibling

    There’s nothing complex about family.
    What can be simpler than mother’s love?
    Without a reason to think of,
    she loves us for who we are.

    Family’s not complicated.
    Even most tangled ties
    look plain to our eyes.
    Who ever questions blood?

    Family is that simple:
    we reap what we have sewn.
    Nothing is complex about family,
    let us not make it so.
    by Lucretia Amstell

  45. Alphabet Architect

    Songs of the Willow

    I don’t know why I don’t know how
    The greening of the willow bough
    Creates a longing in my breast
    For springs long past.

    The red winged black bird singing there
    Could never know, could never care
    That children hung on that same branch
    And sang with mirth.

    Those children now have older grown
    And left the nest that was our home.
    Who could predict, who would have guessed
    They’d leave so soon?

    The greening of the willow bough
    Gives essence to this life somehow
    Each season brings new songs, new life
    And hearts expand.

  46. Margie Fuston

    Family Ties

    My grandmother’s hand stitched
    the edges of the quilt on my bed.
    Some of the threads have broken
    from generations of sleepless nights,
    but it still keeps me warm.

    My mother’s hand stitched
    blue thread under my pale skin.
    I trace the lines from wrist
    to elbow, until they disappear,
    but I know they still exist.

  47. Kit Cooley

    It Doesn’t Fall Far

    In the bosom of my family far away,
    a place is always waiting for me.
    Too many times I turned my back,
    but always I return to my roots,
    it is inevitable, no escape.
    This is where my quirks were formed,
    and where my oddity is accepted,
    among the myriad fruits and nuts that grow
    on the many branches of one shared tree.

    ~ Kit Cooley

  48. Nanamaxtwo

    Tennessee Williams

    Family life resembled a Mississippi bog:
    dark water confounded by rotting mats;
    suffocating air for us to breath, the slow decay
    delaying intolerable disintegration.
    Father drunk, raged his resentment,
    his scorn toward children he despised;
    shouts, physical torment, our food and bed.
    Mother fought for us, a worthy combatant
    until the ennui of pretension
    slipped her into her stage-dream faint.
    We cowered against cheap walls
    the color of mustard and dried blood,
    and hate.

  49. Mickie Lynn

    Sunday Sanctuary

    Sunlight shimmers
    in reflection
    from the vast windows
    of my Sunday sanctuary.

    The ear captures
    tinkling sounds as metal hits ceramic,
    the soft murmurs of muted voices,
    and the booming call to come forward
    from those in power on the microphone.

    The wooden bench is softened
    with a cushion to comfort the weary.
    I see a woman slip tired feet out of heels
    with the futile hope to go unnoticed.

    So many strangers
    congregate here
    in their Sunday best:
    suits and scarves,
    buttons and blouses–
    but not all are dressed for church.

    My family can be considered
    a casual bunch
    in jeans and t-shirts–
    even my infamous baseball cap.

    The smells of this place
    are not of incense, but peaceful still
    of warm baked bread and steamy coffee.

    The tongue tastes eggs or oatmeal
    and we get giddy
    during this communion,
    not on wine, but
    on the smiles that push
    through to laughter
    as we joke and
    share our week
    connected to one another
    around a table
    at a corner café
    on Sunday morning.

  50. poetrycurator

    Here is my 2nd Family Poem for day 20

    Bird Song

    The birds gift us with their song,
    Although the day is long.

    Such war and strife surrounds
    Our lives, and still they sing.

    We do not know from whence
    They came, yet here they stay
    To greet the day and cheer us
    As we work and play.

    Do they not know what a
    Sweet blessing they can be?

    Their family is scattered like
    The seeds, yet they prevail
    And spread their lucent wings
    To fly amidst the trees.

    Do they not know what a
    Sweet blessing they can be?

    Out of the clear blue sky
    They fling in hopes we will
    Repay them with their
    Daily bread as they sing.

    Such war and strife surrounds
    Our lives, and still they sing.

    Although the day is long,
    The birds gift us with their song.

    By Denise Fletcher Copyright © 2014

  51. Zeenie

    pacific blue

    My favorite thing to do
    as a little girl was color.

    Ninety-six count crayon box,
    nubby fist wrapped around
    pacific blue, pages
    of princesses needing tangerine

    hair and tie-dye ballgowns –
    I was never alone in my craft.
    My dad and I would lay
    side-by-side on the carpet floor

    of our apartment,
    elbows bumping, light
    from the glass-door balcony,
    a glowing sheet on our backs.

    Creativity sparking like broken
    candles from our fingertips,
    we’d lose track of time
    in the swirl of cartoon pictures

    and each others’ company;
    this is where I learned about magic –
    watched my father take mere
    outlines and turn them

    into masterpieces.
    He’d give shapes personalities,
    paint clocks on an empty wall
    if he felt time should be told.

    This is how I learned
    to let my mind fly,
    to believe in what exists
    only in my head.

    I’ve always been a writer
    but as a child I told stories
    to three things:
    the air, my dolls, and my dad;

    he was the only one who heard,
    who knew a good story –
    this is how I was taught
    to listen more than I spoke,

    to ask questions and care
    about the answers.
    Now, crayons are an imperfect
    medium and wax makes my hands

    slippery, but sometimes,
    when I remember,
    I find pacific blue
    and draw an ocean.

  52. LCaramanna


    Families flock to God’s house this Easter morn,
    guided by the light of His love,
    fancy fineries and regular jeans,
    extended, fractured, half, whole,
    reluctant religious, divine devout,
    together in peace, united in prayer,
    familiar words spoken, thought forgotten,
    yet faith flows thick in veins soul deep.
    Families rejoice at the table of the Lord,
    witness centuries-old customs,
    share bread and wine this glorious morn.
    Families flock to the house of the Lord,
    Raise voices in hallelujah,
    sweet hosannas sound an
    Easter miracle
    resurrection of God’s family.
    Lorraine Caramanna

  53. kldsanders


    I used to laugh because people were afraid of him.
    The teddy bear disguised as a tough cop.
    He’s the king of corny jokes
    And the master of sarcasm.
    He’s stubborn, and a little paranoid,
    but he will and he has
    drive across the country if
    his daughter needed him.

    – Karen Sanders

  54. ina

    False Start — Ina Roy-Faderman

    The photo has denatured;
    the sky, once streaked with sunshine,
    has grown dull ivory;
    the background trees have blurred
    into a token of “forest.”
    We look like the start of a family,
    but things happened.
    People once outside the frame
    became more than shadows,
    love faded like the turquoise ocean,
    the link between us
    fragmented like the ink of a tattoo,
    scattered by the too-bright light,
    each to find a new picture,
    to try again.

  55. Mark Windham


    It was a lot of years before
    I could serve gravy
    without reservation,
    frequently presenting a bland
    paste or an overly
    salty broth.

    I think a modicum of age-aquired
    patience is the key,

    and stirring; a constant motion
    of the whisk while adding increments
    of flour and slowly increasing
    the heat.

    There are still lumps most
    of the time — small and less
    numerous — and I keep the salt
    close at hand, but I now
    taste before adding.

    I do not remember the sounds
    of rapid stirring from my mother’s
    kitchen, or a salt shaker
    on the table or clumps of flour
    mixing with the rice.

    All I remember is the gravy
    being excellent.

  56. Delaina Miller

    Family Quilt

    A constant
    loud roar
    of dysfunction
    that functions.

    rips out seams
    a calico quilt
    left in tatters.

    nieces and nephews
    patch the holes
    to keep bitter cold
    from settling in our hearts.

    and triumphs together;
    a golden tread
    to stitch, strengthen
    and bind our lives
    into a definable whole

    we call family.

  57. julie e.


    She borrowed a fam’ly
    for this Easter Sunday,
    some people she’d never met.
    Since talking to strangers
    is one of her fortes
    it was her best Easter yet.

    No Tennessee Williams
    type family tension,
    no drama-queens pulled off scene.
    No crisis of danger,
    no trouble to mention,
    no audacious acts–just peace.

    She borrowed a fam’ly
    for this Easter Sunday,
    it was her best Easter yet….

  58. tunesmiff

    Well, it seems the triolet didn’t post, so back from the vilannelle to the triolet…

    G. Smith
    Please and thank you, if you please,
    Always with a pleasant smile,
    Say, “God bless you,” if I sneeze,
    Please and thank you, if you please.
    These niceties that hold the keys,
    Help us go the extra mile.
    Please and thank you, if you please;
    Always with a simple smile.

  59. cdonnelltx@yahoo.com


    I hear your sweet tales of family life
    and think of ours with all its strife.
    Does everyone else have a rosy past?
    Or is it seen through a cloud or behind a mask?

    Well, I’m sorry if my stories are sad.
    If good guys don’t win or some outcomes are bad.
    But that’s the truth, so what should I do
    with our broken lives, the pieces askew?

    I could sweep them all under a rug,
    pretend they don’t exist or take a drug.
    Or grovel on them ’til I’m black and blue.
    I know a lot of people who do.

    Or I can gather the bits of glass
    and make a mosaic of our pasts.
    Find beauty somewhere in each cracked old vase.
    And value. I think that choice is the best.

    Ruby reds for those valiant hearts,
    deflecting harm with fiery darts.
    Rich emerald green for all of those
    whose souls held on throughout nights of woes.

    Brown, like the earth for all who stayed true.
    Add shimmering shards of topaz blue.
    The color of sky over our head
    gives hope for life we won’t have to dread.

    Please don’t forget yellow, not by half.
    That light-hearted color reminds us to laugh.
    To bind it together we use even black,
    dark side, the color of tar or thatch.

    With these pieces both broken and torn
    we come together and cause to form
    a stained glass window so that all might find
    beauty in even the least of light.

  60. tunesmiff

    From Triolet to Vilannelle…

    G. Smith
    Please and thank you, if you please,
    Always with a pleasant smile,
    It all comes back to rules like these.

    Say, “God bless you,” if I sneeze,
    It helps to go the extra mile;
    Please and thank you, if you please.

    These niceties that hold the keys,
    You’ll find are never out of style.
    It all comes back to rules like these:

    Don’t mumble like the bumble bees;
    Speak clearly, not with any guile.
    Please and thank you, if you please.

    Dot your i’s and cross your t’s;
    You’ll find the effort well worthwhile.
    It all comes back to rules like these.

    These simple common courtesies,
    Will lift you high above the pile.
    Please and thank you, if you please;
    It all comes back to rules like these.

  61. J.lynn Sheridan

    “The Bookkeeper”

    She’s the gatherer of our kith and kin,
    summing nippers in knickers through arthritic years,
    recording the stories of each pip and hooligan.
    She’s the gatherer of our kith and kin
    typing our lineage with cerulean ribbon
    (and to tally the red ink accrued through the years.)
    She’s the gatherer of both kith and kin,
    summing nippers in knickers through arthritic years.

  62. miaokuancha

    April 20, 2014

    Prompt: Family


    We are only permitted a little bit of light.
    A moving circle,
    To shine briefly
    On this person,
    That relationship
    Who it formed
    And sometimes

    ~ miaokuancha

  63. CLRichardson

    The Family Jewel

    You hated me before I was born
    And now your hatred now consumes your being
    I want you to know, I am not a bad person
    You’ve become blinded and you’re not seeing

    I love him more than you will ever know
    And I intend to stand with him for a lifetime
    I declare now I will not waver and I will not leave
    Because he is a rare jewel I’ve been blessed to find

    You come at me with your arsenal of weapons
    But know I will always stand my ground
    I do not fear you, not matter what your resources
    Because we’re not fighting for a queen’s crown

    Your ultimatums are unfair
    Designed to make him choose
    Your choices are driving a wedge between you
    And you have no idea what your about to lose

    It is time to erase the lines that you have drawn
    And take a few steps back
    Take a look at the pain you’ve been causing
    It’s him, not me, you’re about to crack

    Christy Lynn Richardson

    1. CLRichardson

      Sorry – posted the unedited version. Here is the edited copy.

      The Family Jewel

      You hated me before I was born
      And now your hatred consumes your being
      I want you to know, I am not a bad person
      You’ve become blinded and you’re not seeing

      I love him more than you will ever know
      And I intend to stand with him for a lifetime
      I declare now I will not waiver and I will not leave
      Because he is a rare jewel I’ve been blessed to find

      You come at me with your arsenal of weapons
      But know I will always stand my ground
      I do not fear you, no matter what your resources
      Because we’re not fighting for a queen’s crown

      Your ultimatums are unfair
      Designed to make him choose
      Your choices are driving a wedge between you
      And you have no idea what your about to lose

      It is time to erase the lines that you have drawn
      And take a few steps back
      Take a look at the pain you’ve been causing
      It’s him, not me, you’re about to crack

      Christy Lynn Richardson

  64. briehuling

    April 20, 2014

    Day 20

    I draw a mountain on a piece of paper,
    a small tree, a creek, a little bird and
    warily place my family there.
    I have hidden my dad in the crab grass
    next to the base of the mountain to cover
    the sprawling roots of the wavering trees.
    My mom is a fluttery mockingbird
    imitating life from the treetops and my brother
    is the hiker on the mountainside, two
    poles on either side for balance, digging,
    handling, touching everything with bare hands,
    while I float along in current of the creek,
    my head bobbing just barely above the water.

    By Brie Huling

  65. jsmadge

    Family Reunion (triolet)

    The spider web of her to him
    Then over there to who is that
    Lifts questions of she married when?
    The spider web of her to him.
    Each eye perceives each piece once dim
    And each to each to reconnect
    The spider web of her to him
    Then over there to who is that?

    Jo Steigerwald

  66. elysebrownell

    Elyse Brownell

    Though she isn’t mine,
    in the way a child is
    after you carried them
    for nine months

    endlessly wondering
    what she’ll look like
    talk like, sound like,
    how things would change
    or wouldn’t change
    how you would change
    or wouldn’t change

    I still get to watch her grow
    watch her read

    watch her fall in love
    watch her heartbroken

    watch her fail
    watch her succeed

    watch her laugh
    watch her cry

    I get to do all things
    that mothers do
    because step-moms are mothers too

  67. pcm

    My Sister Jenny

    My sister Jenny with her ice blue eyes
    and lashes that swirl, curl, flutter and close
    when she talks to anyone but the dogs,
    my sister Jenny, Jen-Jen, we called her,
    was the baby of us three
    but never a baby, always into everything
    with eager hands and big ol’ eyes, long lashes
    fluttering so fast when she was watching
    seemed like she’d lift right on up into the air.

    My sister, Jenny, Jen-Jen, in French,
    Jennifer, the Je like the s in treasure,
    Jennifer, the i like ee in a wood thrush ee-oh-lay,
    Jennifer, the fer like frère in Frère Jacques
    Jennifer, Jenny the fair. And she was.

    My sister, Jenny, Jen-Jen, Jennifer,
    when we lived in France, was always
    la timide, shy and quiet like, watching
    not speaking. She had ballerinas
    and pink all over her walls, and tutu pink
    curtains and pink dresses on dolls. She wore
    pink whenever she could and thought
    strawberry ice cream was better than good.

    My sister, Jenny, Jen-Jen, Jennifer, Pink Princess
    with eyes ocean blue and lashes that curled
    and swirled out past her nose so you could
    feel the breeze when they fluttered,
    she kept her thick, brown, hair long, long, long
    and wound it up on her head to dance, dance, dance
    in silence—an apt activity for Jennifer la timide.

    Back in the States, after school, Jenny babysat.
    My Jenny—the children called her that.
    Jenny, Jen-Jen, Jennifer, My Jenny moved
    to Telluride to ski and to cook. She married a man
    she met skiing and wore Mom’s dress of Japanese silk
    that Dad had brought back from Korea
    for their wedding after the war. She wore Mom’s
    dress, Jennifer la timide. After the wedding,
    she bided her time in Telluride a few years
    until, she said, I’m moving to Alaska.
    Of course, I asked Why? She said,
    To work in Denali State Park.
    The husband? I asked.
    She would leave him behind
    and the black and blue marks he gave her.

    Jenny, Jen-Jen, Jennifer, My Jenny,
    with the shy blue eyes and lashes that
    tickled God’s nose, flew to Alaska where
    she raced bears to empty trash
    and cooked for geologists in the North Pole
    inside a great big tent. She taught in the bush
    where only sled dogs go and snowmobiles
    could pass in winter. She married
    an Alaskan pilot who delivered her
    supplies and made a new seat of wood
    for her outhouse.

    Jenny, Jen-Jen, Jennifer, My Jenny,
    has two Alaskan children and real indoor
    plumbing so she and her Alaskan husband
    don’t see the Aurora Borealis as often as
    they did from the outhouse. She shoos
    away moose so they don’t tangle their antlers
    in the laundry hanging out to dry.
    Jenny who still closes her corn flower blue eyes
    with lashes long that flutter down easy as they fall
    when she talks to anyone but the dogs,
    manages ESL in the school system for an entire city.
    Guess she wasn’t so timid after all.

  68. d dyson

    There is a crack I dare not peer into,
    for you to see through my eyes as if they were your own,
    so I will prey upon another family I see daily across the front lawn.
    A family of husband and wife, children teenaged; young,
    showing the world their happy-shiny faces,
    parading in the springtime sun.
    Unaware of the shadows they carry,
    the whisperers of their closed doors,
    the secret breakers murmuring to the light,
    their hurts, the deceit, the bruises of harsh words.
    The alcohol washed evenings in front of the T.V. box,
    whilst the wife is playing away with the widowed neighbour
    who resides at number sixty-four.
    The kids spaced out in front of the internet,
    chatting with familiar strangers who in real life they’ve never met.
    Frightening to think of the real life human
    behind the innocently sounding display name.
    Sat like zombies consumed by their monitors until dawn,
    whilst the shadows conspire to release their whispers
    of the happy-shiny family across the front lawn.

  69. Andrea

    Family Planning

    She said, “Family planning,”
    and I laughed

    Oh, I’ve planned
    I’ve been a fortune teller
    saw a constellation of children
    their father a giant

    But, I was a poor fortune teller
    or perhaps an offbeat optimistic
    pelted by a meteor shower hell storm
    left with a handful of sand

    Now, I’ve stopped planning at the sky
    and am erosion
    searching birds’ nests blown down
    I envy what is left of them

    So, plan an attack
    a road trip
    a garden party
    and surely have a laugh
    before you plan a family

    (((Yikes!! Sorry for the double post!)))

  70. Andrea B

    Family Planning

    She said, “Family planning,”
    and I laughed

    Oh, I’ve planned
    I’ve been a fortune teller
    saw a constellation of children
    their father a giant

    But, I was a poor fortune teller
    or perhaps an offbeat optimistic
    pelted by a meteor shower hell storm
    left with a handful of sand

    Now, I’ve stopped planning at the sky
    and am erosion
    searching birds’ nests blown down
    I envy what is left of them

    So, plan an attack
    a road trip
    a garden party
    and surely have a laugh
    before you plan a family

  71. seingraham


    The silver bird banks hard before setting down
    at Leonardo Da Vinci, and the lovers clasp hands
    Her ring throws rainbow sparks across the ceiling
    of the private jet, and they both laugh
    He tries to teach her the words for “good omen”
    in Italian, complimenting her on her accent
    She has been working very hard to learn the
    language before the wedding
    Knowing how important it is to him

    Having no immediate family herself, she is
    looking forward to meeting his
    —they sounded so warm and welcoming on the phone—
    To become part of such a large extended one…
    Learning to speak Italian seemed a small price
    to pay for the privilege
    She has no idea of the larger prices involved,
    once she becomes a member of this particular
    He loves her more than anyone alive, he tells
    She will understand eventually, he tells himself
    Once they are married and she is family.

  72. ToniBee3

    “pedal boat”

    pushing gently away from the dock together
    sunscreened and shaded, we clown together
    pedaling slowly to our own tempo together
    passing mama duck and ducklings in tandem together
    tossing bread crumbs to gobbling fish together
    marveling at terrapins bask on rocks together
    waving to fathers and sons riding bikes together
    fanning and swatting assorted bugs together
    embracing sweet breezes ‘round the fountain together
    hoping not to sink or capsize together
    enjoying these moments with kinfolk together

  73. Michael Wells

    The Family on My Mind

    I took the family for a walk
    took them to the theater
    fed them hope and sunshine
    celebrated important days
    drove them to church on the Sabbath
    applied Band-Aids as needed
    sprang for a few frills
    tucked them into a matchbox
    closed my eyes and went to sleep

  74. sbpoet

    Sunday Evening

    Beau-Cat Boy-Cat Bad-Cat
    is on the counter again,
    watching goddaughter cook.
    Mariah laughs at my protest
    and sets an emptied can
    by his greedy nose. I turn on

    the grill. She steps over
    the puppy as she passes
    from sink to stove. In the next
    room, Belle-the-Cat swipes
    at the old dog’s tail. He
    ignores her. A squirrel

    performs acrobatics
    on the squirrel-proof feeder
    in the garden. The grill
    is smoking. Mariah butters
    the bread and slides
    sandwiches onto the hot

    plate. They sizzle. Bruce-
    the-Budgie sings back
    to them. No two creatures
    in this household are
    related by blood. This
    braid is stronger.

    ~ sharon brogan

  75. Debbie


    We laugh
    Yet nothing is funny
    We cry
    Yet nothing is wrong
    We argue
    Yet nothing is said
    We talk
    Yet no one communicates
    We have problems
    Yet nothing is solved
    We are together
    and nothing else matters

  76. BDP

    “Two Words”

    Four decades past, my dad replied, “So what.”
    “I’m home,” I said, from nine months spent away.
    I wrote. Calls stateside cost too much for chat.
    Four decades past my dad replied, “So what.”
    At eighty-five, he’s sworn off all things sloshed,
    a not forgotten smell of yesterday
    four decades past. My dad replied, “So what.”
    “I’m here,” I said, from nine months spent away.

    –Barb Peters

  77. MMC

    Mother to Daughter
    (my attempt at a triolet)

    When you were born I looked at you with wonder
    and thus began another mother-round
    of parent chores with decades split asunder.
    When you were born I looked at you with wonder
    but now the hard work’s done and there’s a hunger
    for more generations springing up from ground.
    When you were born I looked at you with wonder
    and thus began another mother-round.

  78. EbenAt

    Sister Sledge
    had it just right;
    We are family.

    Maybe one percent
    of our DNA
    separates us
    from monkeys.

    Forty percent of
    each and every one
    of us
    are viruses.

    Fifty five percent
    is long gone

    The upshot?
    Outlaw motorcycle gangs
    be damned,
    we’re all
    one percenters.

  79. Mr. Take The Lead

    The Universal Family
    Daniel R. Simmons
    Often times we focus so much on race and color, social economic status and religious and political beliefs that we literally divide our nation and world with senseless hate.
    Too often times we fail to remember that we all bleed the same color, breathe the same air, and all live under the same sun.
    You see we focus so much on our differences that we fail to see and embrace our connectedness. For we all marvel at the seven wonders of the world, can feel the deep sadness, despair and the effects from the Holocaust and slavery that still stings and hovers centuries later ,
    Americans and nations all over the world, stood in shock at the assassination of JFK, and Dr. King.
    We all know the significance of the words “Tear down these walls “, and the numbers 9/11 brings about a universal silent remembrance of tragedy.
    We all felt for Hati and New Orleans, prisoners of war and nations fighting for change.
    Why, because we all have emotions. And why do we all have emotions because we all are human. That’s the real race the human race.
    And as humans we can relate and have empathy for another other human
    We all cry, we feel afraid, we all get cold in the winter and hot in the heat, we all have lost loved ones.
    We all like to be respected, long for justice when we’re wronged. E
    very nation wants to be treated fairly and want opportunity.
    Yes, we all are human, and until we realize that money is just a form of currency to take care of our needs and not a god or nation and world will never change.
    until realize that people choose to believe in what they believe ultimately their own fate, that you can’t shove religion down their throat but, only offer them real truth, realizing that they make their own choice, the world will never change. Or until we realize that the only race is the real race our nation and world will never change.
    You see it’s doesn’t make an ounce to hate someone because they don’t think like you, look like you, believe like you or have what you have.
    Why not love and accept another for who they are.
    For we all are one in this universal family
    We call life

  80. PatsC

    Relating Love

    Nuclear family of three,
    One senior,
    One approaching,
    One twenty-something.

    A family of introverts,
    Each craving space,
    In a house too small,
    Privacy cannot be gained.

    A family of grace,
    Round the dinner table,
    Dutifully exchanges,
    The limited news of day.

    A family of need,
    The party of three,
    Mindful of the silences,
    Thankful for kin.

  81. Mokosh28


    The most difficult relationship. I didn’t
    understand until I had to give my son
    away, why she disliked me even
    when she smiled, never saying my
    name which was yoked to hers.
    No matter which recipe I chose,
    no matter the richness and
    freshness of ingredients, no pie or cake
    or casserole could ever be his
    favorite. I worked too many hours or I
    didn’t work enough. My house was
    messy or too clean. So many women
    prettier than I. So many old girlfriend’s
    virtues ready on her lips. I catch myself

    just before I mention that beautiful
    Rachel that my son dated, the one
    who became a judge, was on the front
    page. It is Easter and we join around
    the table. I serve my son first, as always.
    My lesser daughter looks annoyed,
    would rather be at her own mother’s
    feast where they spend every
    Christmas. But today he is still mine
    in some small measure. And you, daughter
    of a tenuous vow, remind me only a bit
    of my own blossom days when love was
    brittle and stung until the pain of birthing
    him when I understood that I could never,
    ever give my mother-self away.

    – Joanne M. Clarkson

  82. Michelle Hed

    Blood Ties and Loose Ends

    People come and go in our lives –
    some touch us briefly,
    others linger for many years
    and some become family
    even though no blood connects you.

    But family stays…
    whether you want them or not
    and some times
    there are those so-called black sheep
    of the family or entire branches
    of the family tree
    which are only talked about
    in whispers…

    Which becomes all the more alluring
    to young minds
    willing to pull on these loose ends
    and unravel all the secrets,
    every juicy tidbit
    to decide if they are worth whispering about,
    just misunderstood,
    or perhaps in need of an olive branch…
    or if indeed,
    loose ends should be left alone.

  83. mbramucci

    Bent Leaf
    By: Michelle Bramucci

    Where is my leaf in the family tree?
    Right below Janice & John, sits me
    Next to Laurie & Johnny on Dad’s other side
    With all of their cousins my branch has grown wide

    My leaf doesn’t seem to fit here on this stem
    It’s grown smaller and sticks out away from all them
    Its color is somehow a different green
    As if it was spliced and does not share the gene

    I can’t even see my mom’s side of the roots
    As a result of ancestral disputes
    It’s almost as if my leaf stems from a crook
    And supposed to be clipped by a pruning hook

    Not that my leaf has been wholly rejected
    Leaves Laurie, Johnny, and Dave have accepted
    That my leaf may have a similar strain
    They can see that we share the same pattern of vein

    Now from my branch young foliage grows
    New leaves that beautifully juxtapose
    Against this knobbed crook that grew here from just one
    Positioned so they’ll be exposed to the sun

  84. JadeWr1tes

    Familia- No Other (4/20)

    My family is small compared
    to his long names of fifty
    cousins, and from different
    cultures, its hard to understand
    the other.

    But when we’re eating and
    singing, laughing and playing,
    dancing and crying
    or simply hating each
    other’s guts telling
    everyone to shut up
    or just turning a simple
    holiday to a chaotic day,
    its hard to deny that
    we are each other.

    We’re family, different
    skin tones, light, medium
    or dark, thick accents
    and broken English, apart
    from all of our differences,
    we are all family.

    All our mothers, cousins, sisters
    and brothers, daughters and
    grandparents, wives and husbands,
    no matter how crazy, I’ll have no other! :)

    Dedicated To Mi Familia :)

    © 2014 Jada Lopez Poetry

  85. alana sherman

    It’s all family today. This is also for NapoWrimo sort of in a kid’s voice
    Day 20 A family poem

    Ben’s Song

    I can dance in a line
    and swim in a lane
    sing like a robin
    splash like the rain

    I can climb like a squirrel
    on the branches of trees
    spin like a petal
    in a spring breeze

    I can swing on a swing
    I can slide down a slide
    When others are seeking
    I know how to hide

    I can answer the phone
    I can open the door
    I can help with the dishes
    pick clothes up off the floor

    I can do all the things
    my mom asks me to do
    Want to know why?
    It’s because I am two!!

  86. Daniel Paicopulos

    Family of Man

    It’s old men who send our young to war.
    I don’t listen to them anymore.
    It’s time to stand up, say nevermore,
    it’s old men who send our young to war.
    I’ve seen the play and ask once more,
    what the hell are we fighting for?
    It’s old men who send our young to war.
    I don’t listen to them anymore.

  87. BethBrubaker

    Pillow Fight!

    Mom starts it off
    with a swat to Dad’s head
    he tosses and misses
    hitting daughter instead.

    Daughter hits Brother
    who whacks sister back,
    Then they look up at Father
    and start the attack.

    He dives for the couch
    to avoid all the pillows,
    wrapping up in a blanket
    like a big armadillo.

    Mom swats both kids back
    protecting her love
    then grabs up the blanket
    and gives him a shove.

    He rolls up from the floor
    with a tumble-ing twirl
    He’s a great Pillow Ninja
    with four pillows to hurl!

    One gets Daughter’s head
    the other gets Son
    And two for the Wife
    who started this one

    All fall together
    laughing hard, out of breath
    knowing that the next fight
    will be “to the death!”

  88. Simon Cowan

    Outside The Cafe By The Sea.

    We eat lunch,
    Sister, brother
    Niece, uncle.

    Goldwings roar out of their parking spaces
    their riders, refreshed, somewhere else to be.

    Over the distant sigh of the sea
    A seagull cries.

    As the sun warms my face
    and the breeze brushes past
    I feel some of the bird’s freedom.

    You tell me how the sun
    glints on the water.
    I know a different kind of beauty
    in the murmur of sun-soaked voices
    the touch of the wind
    the breath of the ocean
    and being here,
    as a part
    of something natural.

  89. Connie Peters

    Greatest Commandments

    When your life goes off the rails,
    when all else fails,
    what remains you can afford,
    love the Lord.
    Don’t forget your sisters and brothers,
    and love others.
    Not the love that rules or smothers,
    or the loves that begs and whines,
    but the loves that gives through time.
    When all else fails, love the Lord, and love others.

  90. jclenhardt

    Oh, Margorie

    Great Great Grandfather sits
    at the top of the tree,
    but too far for me to reach,
    but beneath him sits
    Great Grandmother,
    but still more
    then an arms length,
    but beneath her sits Margorie;
    Oh, Margorie, or Marge,
    who finally
    could reach down
    to rock me in her arms,
    then beneath her, sits Father,
    then Mother branching out,
    where above her
    sits another set
    of Great Great’s this,
    and Great Great’s that,
    and now beneath me;
    sits a boy, sits a girl,
    where one day,
    when their branches grow,
    I’ll reach down,
    like Margorie, Oh, Margorie,
    to rock them in my arms.

  91. robinamelia


    Is it a game, or a fight for survival
    I see along the oak branches?
    Squirrel one is chasing.
    If squirrel two turns and squawks,
    squirrel one is an intruder.
    If they dash together into a nest,
    they are family.
    They know who is who
    and why one is to be welcomed
    and the other cast out to die.
    They are little comfort to this viewer.

    Robin Amelia Morris

  92. Mark Conroy


    Most of what I tell you
    You never hear
    I don’t know what I’ve said
    When it goes in your head.

    I never mean to make you cry
    It seemed so simple to me
    A thought an answer a sweet reply
    Tumbled together inside your ears

    The words find their way deep
    And couple together
    To once more come out
    Wrong in the end.

    Mark Conroy

  93. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    Dozens o’ cousins.. from near and from far…
    Come visit for Easter by plane or by car…
    Betty Lou, Billie Sue, Connie Ann, too;
    Bobbie Jo, Mary Glenn, from Kalamazoo;
    Candi and Andy, and Ethan and Brian;
    Connor, and Sawyer who always is cryin’.
    Three different Sammys, two different Johns;
    A Tracy, a Stacy, there’s even a Juan;
    Kevin and Steven, and Melvin and Larry;
    Toni and Jackson and Harry and Barry;
    Laura and Austin and Randy with y
    Lucas and Jacob and Randi with i
    Sarah and Susan and JoAnn and Benny;
    Wanda and Matthew and Janet and Kenny;
    Bitsey and Jimmy and Spencer and Claire,
    Marcus and Mark and Chris will be there;
    Melissa and Annie and Cathy with C;
    Kathy with K, and oh, yeah, then there’s me.
    We’re all related, just look at our faces…
    Heavens above, have I set enough places?
    With apologies to Dr. Seuss and Ogden Nash…

    : )

  94. bethwk

    Down in the wetland
    where the creeks divide
    and reunite,

    a pair of mallards dabbles
    in the shallows
    of the swiftest bubbling waterway.

    Among the grasses
    of a little pool nearby
    twelve ducklings

    dip and bob,
    muddying the water.
    Up on the grassy bank,

    wide-eyed and watchful
    a young snapping turtle
    bides its time.

    (Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider

  95. Jaywig

    Getting to Know You

    The mother-in-law

    It was the salty taste
    of that pale green cucumber
    that did it. We both
    rolled the juicy slices
    in our mouths, rolled our eyes
    in appreciation.
    A moment of healthy connection.

    The father-in-law

    The three chooks step gingerly
    around their scratching ground,
    the fence a testament to a man’s
    view of DIY: just do it. Driving
    buses might have ruined a back,
    but not that sense of a man’s back yard
    being his castle, farm and kingdom.

    The daughter

    I peered into the silver-striped
    paper bag: not one but five
    Lindt Excellence DARK
    packs. “You know me well.
    I’ll give these little gold-wrapped
    eggs to your Nan.” “Oh no, Mum,
    those are dark too. For you.”


    I find it remarkably easy
    to get there without GPS
    and to arrive home without
    wrong turnings. Somehow
    the afternoon made sense.
    I begin to make plans for
    their visit, me as hostess.

  96. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Happy Easter

    My friend phones in crisis.
    ‘You’ve got to leave it be,” I say.
    You can’t sustain these shocks.
    She’s an adult now.”

    “Yes,” she says,
    “And it cuts both ways.
    If the homeless team find her,
    they can’t even tell me she’s safe
    unless she gives permission,
    because she’s 34.”

    That surprises me.
    I thought the soft-faced girl
    was about 19 —
    that childish gaze,
    and her behaviour …

    The story this time:
    the refuge kicked her out
    because she got in a fight,
    and the mental health clinic’s full.
    She’s got no money, and
    she’s out of her medication.
    She’s borrowed a phone
    to call her mum
    from some woman in the park.

    “I don’t even know
    if she’s telling me the truth,
    or how confused she might be,”
    her mother says.

    “But I’ve worked out the pattern.
    It’s intermittent. Happens
    at Christmas and Easter.”
    “When did it start?” I ask.
    “She was 13, it was after
    her father’s suicide.”

    Her other daughter’s visiting
    to use her mum’s computer,
    and she has things to say:
    “You never helped me either.
    You’ve got to go and look for her.
    You’re not a proper mother.”

    I know the years of care,
    the returns in violent abuse.
    “That’s all you need,” I say.
    “Tell her that’s the past.
    Tell her to back off.”

    “Oh, she’s worried about her sister.
    But I can’t go. The lawnmowing man
    threw up a stone, and smashed
    the back window of my car.
    I can’t go anywhere.”

    Meanwhile her son with Asperger’s
    shuts the door of his room,
    “To keep the dramas out.”

    “I’m shaking and I want to vomit,”
    says my friend.

  97. lionmother

    Family Circle

    I began with my mother and father
    their joy in me made me feel
    special and I thought this feeling
    would last forever then on came
    my brother with his insistence on
    being heard and taking all the
    attention away from me, but
    I was a dignified nine year old
    and eager for the opportunity
    to find my own independence
    so I enjoyed the non attention
    of my parents until the day
    when Hal appeared and
    my parents became
    background noise as my
    world expanded in new
    directions and spread from
    coast to coast with Hal at
    the center
    my center until Rachel with
    her soft baby ways enveloped
    both of us with the cloak of
    parenthood and suddenly
    I was a mother and though
    I still had my mother she
    became my refuge and
    safe touchstone as I
    navigated the rocky waters
    of a new parent and just
    when I thought I knew
    the terrain along came
    Sara and knocked me
    off my course
    Now there were four of
    us and suddenly I was
    at the helm of my own
    family steering through
    the chaos of the various
    ages along the way losing
    my touchstone and having
    to struggle without her support
    to keep us afloat
    Trying to absorb all the
    horror and the joy as my family
    veered toward the rocky shoreline
    and ran aground at times
    And Hal who had been stalwart
    and strong throughout became
    the one we needed to tend to and
    worry about
    the one who needed extra care
    who became weak and wispy
    disease becoming his best friend
    Yet we rallied round him making
    a circle of ourselves.

  98. viv

    Mon Oncle Bob

    had a silk velvet voice
    like Gilbert Becaud,
    a repertoire of naughty songs
    in impeccable French,
    and romantic duets with tante Joan,
    Handsome in that bel homme style.
    he told funny stories by the mile.
    My godfather, he chose my name,
    which if Mum had her way would
    have been Virginia.
    Thank you, l’oncle Bob,
    or Robert Henri Louis to be formal,
    who smoked a pipe
    that was the death of him.


  99. mshall

    Gone, but never forgotten,
    Standing on the beach we were that beautiful day
    Dreams of a bright future turned rotten.
    Gone, but never forgotten.
    The earthquake, then terrible tsunami left the land sodden,
    And ripped you, child of mine, away.
    Gone, but never forgotten.
    Standing on the beach we were that beautiful day.

  100. FaerieTalePoet

    Rainbow Sheep

    It’s not that
    I’ve been
    or anything,
    but chosen family
    has always
    meant more to me
    than blood.

    Dana A. Campbell

  101. Shell

    They come and they go

    Love inconsistently.

    Arguably most important

    Many rarely are.

    The few permanently bonded

    Eventually all return.

    Life’s too short

    Appreciations hold dear.

  102. SestinaNia

    This is a cascade–another form I really love!


    Won’t you please teach me
    the deepest secrets of alchemy
    that changes water into blood
    and turns friends into family?

    Is it the haunting melody,
    interlaced with gravity,
    that will give me what I seek?
    Won’t you please teach me?

    My life is a study of chemistry
    and I understand organically
    I need a teacher to show
    the deepest secrets of alchemy.

    I long for another reality
    and reject this current blasphemy
    that says there is no spell
    that changes water into blood.

    Release me from this agony
    and validate my mortality
    it is only love that saves
    and turns friends into family.

    — Sara Doyle

  103. nmbell

    Family of the Heart

    A family is not necessarily
    One of the blood
    My family is certainly not

    I exist at the centre of
    My heart family
    Which includes my husband,
    My sons and their loved ones

    My family is not all human
    My family includes the land I live on
    My horses
    My dogs
    My cats

    The sky overhead
    The earth beneath my feet
    The water that comes freely from the well
    The wind that brings the snow and the spring

    Family is many things
    All different to all people
    Family is not necessarily
    One of blood ties
    True Family is always
    One of the Heart

    Nancy Bell 2014

  104. dandelionwine

    Family Gathering

    While they
    sit, bow their heads,
    you and I
    trek, lift our gaze.
    Their pews, our trails–
    in a way, we’re all
    together seeking

    Sara Ramsdell

  105. Zeenie

    robin’s egg blue

    My favorite thing to do
    as a little girl was color.

    Ninety-six count crayon box,
    nubby fist wrapped around
    “robin’s egg blue,”
    black and white princesses
    in need of tangerine hair
    and tie-dye ballgowns –
    I was never alone in my craft.

    My dad and I would lay
    side-by-side on the carpet
    floor of our apartment,
    light from the glass-door
    balcony like a glowing
    sheet on our backs.

    Elbows bumping,
    creativity sparking
    like broken candles
    from our fingertips,
    we’d lose track of time
    in the swirl of cartoon pictures
    and each other’s company –

    this is where I learned
    about magic.
    Watching my father take mere
    outlines and turn them
    into masterpieces –
    he’d give shapes personalities,
    paint clocks on an empty wall
    if he felt time should be told.

    This is how I learned
    to let my mind fly,
    to believe in what only exists
    in my head, to tell stories
    and trust someone is listening.

  106. Julieann

    The Gift of Family

    Special days come and special days go
    Bringing time to pause and to reflect
    Secular holidays, spiritual ones,
    Allowing friends and family to connect

    Family is a general term
    Lumping those with blood connection
    But often, though, there are other ties
    That are worth our time and detection

    Society expects us to form these bonds
    Encourages us to connect
    To rely on our friends and even hoping
    That our families we’ll reject

    So when our natural family
    Leaves us with more grief than hope and love
    Remember to take time to honor and to cherish
    Them, a gift – given from above

  107. poetrycurator

    Here is my Family Poem for day 20

    Educating My Lizards

    The lizards here in Florida are proliferating like bunny rabbits.

    They make their home in the bush next to my window.

    My lizard friends hang out on my sill and cling to my window screen as they listen daily to the sounds of my music and poetry playing on the computer.

    Curious little lizards.

    One day I came home and a lizard snuck into my place running so fast I couldn’t catch him.

    I didn’t find him for weeks and then it was too late.

    He was a goner; found dead in the corner behind the sofa.

    There will always be more, even with the snake slithering in the grass inhaling the babies as soon as they’re born.

    Never a dull moment here.

    Another day I caught a couple of them making love on the sidewalk not far from my door.

    I had to step over them, so I wouldn’t disturb their little tryst.

    No sooner had that happened and boom another baby lizard appeared in my flowerpot next to my roses.

    The family keeps spreading out around the neighborhood searching for spiders and crickets and anything else they can find to stay alive!

    By Denise Fletcher Copyright © 2014

  108. carolecole66


    In the corner of my living room sits
    an old pie safe made by my great,
    great-grandfather, its wood sleek and smooth
    as burnished apples from his orchard trees.
    Across from it the hall tree that held our coats
    each Christmas at my grandparents’ farm,
    the scent of fresh persimmon pudding
    lingers in the oak. My dresser was Estelle’s,
    my father’s father’s mother. The old mirror
    needs to be resilvered, reflects her wavy image
    back at me, its carved frame yellow as the honey
    from her hives. I sleep in the bed my father built
    in high school and dream at night of chicken
    on the grill. In the next room, my mother dies
    inch by inch, dozing in the chair her mother
    rocked her in each night, the scent of cinnamon
    and peaches wafting through the air.


    1. carolecole66

      Ahhh-I left the word “stands” out of line 5: “Across from it stands the hall tree.” Sentence structure gave me more trouble than usual this time.

  109. GirlGriot

    Ah, a prompt that fits nicely with all the writing about family I’ve been doing this month!

    my hands,
    bow my head,
    give thanks, give praise.
    We’re here, still alive,
    still calling
    across the gulfs
    of time and silence.
    one, one more.
    Fill the spaces,
    bring every child home.

    (The form is an Arun, a 15-line poem with the syllable count 1/2/3/4/5 — 3x. It may be a new thing in the world, made up by me last year. “Arun” means “five” in Yoruba.)

  110. ASperryConnors

    This morning I noticed, there are
    No more little girls in Easter dresses
    Or bunnies hopping through my home
    I touched my cheeks remembering egg blowing
    And looked to my finger tips for signs
    of multi-colored dye and glitter glue

    Fingers empty

    Holy week was our time to make amazing art
    On such small bird born canvases
    And tell the story of how my mother
    Made baskets filled with new grass
    And hid them high up in the trees
    Where birds were fooled by jellybeans

    Eggs empty

    For years, we formed sugar into hollow ‘caves’
    Etching dioramas of God’s Creation
    Doing small things to remember Jesus
    His passion, His teachings, His suffering
    His trip to the cross, His final words
    Lord they know not what they’ve done

    Life empty

    So God understands the teen years
    When children say ‘there is no God’
    And blame parents for being weak
    To believe in such things. They say…
    The tomb is fake because teens don’t
    Yet understand new life and second chances

    Tomb empty

    Not yet. Teens are all about sleeping in
    And texting friends and washing their hair
    More than once for Instagram selfies.
    So why did it surprise them that there were no bunnies
    Under their pillow or Easter eggs in the lawn
    Or that mom went to church on her own


  111. cobanionsmith

    Because That’s Family

    was it when
    you noticed
    my All-stars
    paired with
    my little black dress
    or when I won
    the vocabulary contest
    held between us
    in your head
    or when you called
    to say you were
    going to call
    was it over
    Thai food
    or the beer after
    or in the bookstore
    threatening to hold
    my hand
    if we went
    to the movies
    the first kiss
    in the parking lot
    before the play
    we missed maybe
    or the talk about
    age difference
    and addictions
    or one of the slips
    you had to
    admit to
    perhaps when
    my father died
    when did you know
    yes, I want her
    to be the mother
    of my children
    when your brokenness
    first spoke to mine
    or when my pain
    my joy became yours

    (c) Courtney O’Banion Smith

  112. DanielAri


    she’s reminded me already, countless times before
    that i’m not her dad. I know, and you know i know,
    but what you’re wearing right now is the same as
    screaming, I am looking for as much trouble as
    there is trouble to have, and I happen to know
    a little about the place you’re going, and there
    is plenty of trouble there. This is a person’s
    honest opinion of the situation before you
    go out that door, and as luck would have
    it, this person actually does care what
    happens to you, regardless of family
    trees, fallen in a remote forest and
    waiting for loggers, insects or time
    to take care of the remains. She
    gives one of those laser-sighs
    and stomps in two-four time
    back to her room. And she
    changes but makes it a
    point not to pass by
    me again as the
    finds her way
    out into the


  113. Pat Walsh

    PAD poem 20 — today’s prompt got me thinking about the idea of being part of a family both particular and universal. Here’s what I’ve come up with in response:

    An Easter Blessing
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    arms clasped tired
    resting on her mother’s shoulders
    a tiny blonde angel
    waits for all the grownups
    to finish with the Easter service

    fairly worn out
    by the longness of the morning
    she wrestles with sleep
    and tries not to yawn
    in a way that anyone can see

    her pale face
    betrays a vestige of pink
    more precious than the pastels
    of a thousand baskets
    filled with Easter eggs

    in the quiet
    interval of consecration
    she smiles shyly at an old man
    and he nods in response
    as though blessed

  114. Sharon Ann

    Poem for the Family

    Some families never change.
    The same members show up to the gatherings
    year after year.
    There is a constant, something stable
    about the scene.
    Other families experience some tearing,
    through death or disappointment.
    They struggle with fear.
    Nothing is constant, nothing is stable
    about the scene.
    It is important to always be thankful
    when the same members show up
    year after year.
    It is important to know that life can change,
    without prediction
    dramatically changing the scene.
    Embrace your ever-changing family
    and show up year after year.
    Pray for them, help them,
    and care for them.
    Give them a life without any fear.

  115. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Monk seal mothers leave
    Once their baby seals can fish
    Sad but they adjust

    A male silver back
    Guards his whole group against all
    Tracking how they move

    A mother whale knew
    The moment her baby died
    Being far away

    My father loved cards
    He dealt his love out fairly
    We all held his heart

    My mother tried hard
    Bringing all four of us up
    She is with us still

    All parents just try
    To do what is best for children
    Love lets us let go

  116. encrerouge

    First encounters

    it is something beyond similar nose arches,
    the way the voice coughs tension beyond the prairie
    rejects what has been settled in the patriarchal lines
    assembling quarters of flight and fluidity,
    the tree has caught fire only to burn the fungi
    apparently, it has been the longest time since…
    since Rose Marie approaches the vines of wisdom
    I hope the hearts enlighten their sense of smell
    may this new encounter, sister, be full of fragrances
    your petals of steel engage the solar system to a new sun.

  117. LizMac


    Bumping and thumping togetherness,
    Sandpaper irritations smoothing
    Into laughter, tears, and embrace.
    Fount of happiness pouring
    Into river of tears;
    Acceptance and disapproval
    Proud disappointment doubting softly;
    Woolly warmth wrapped
    Round the sadness of years.

    Pulse of identity
    Spreading out into the world
    Cyclically returning
    Always so far and so near.

  118. Emily Cooper

    Mass Media

    In a show
    of unabashed liberalism

    yesterday the Pope tweeted
    a prayer request

    “for the victims
    of the ferry disaster
    in Korea and their families”

    to his three-and-a-half
    million followers

    meaning that what is supposed
    to be an empty gesture
    that does nothing

    may instead

    through the instant virality
    of the interwebs

    have an impact
    on the situation at hand.

    And today
    on this holiest of days

    he tweeted
    “Christ is risen! Alleluia!”

    which is simply unacceptable
    because anyone
    who uses two exclamation points
    is probably a heretic

    meaning someone
    who takes time off
    from fearing God

    in order to showily
    “love” Him.

    (And where has love
    ever gotten us?)

  119. Janet Rice Carnahan


    If anything can
    It is the family of man

    If we know who we are
    We can touch a star

    With an open heart
    We have the right start

    Forgiving our past
    Lets us go right past

    All that hurt
    Face down in the dirt

    If we truly smile again to life
    Gone will be our inner strife

    This isn’t trite, it’s true
    Look within, you always knew

    Recognizing we are all one
    Returns to us all the fun

    We know when something isn’t good
    We know what else would

    If we stay true to what’s inside
    We would no longer stop and hide?

    We’d open right up
    Fulfill our own cup

    With the highest truest love
    Because for all . . .

    It is what we’re made of!

  120. susanjer

    Family Tree

    I am your family tree/I know your A to Z
    Kings of Leon

    A second cousin, an Erbe before marriage,
    has traced your family tree
    showing four generations of Lindemans.

    She inquires details of generation five.
    You provide statistics on four sons
    and their offspring to date.

    She notes the year of your divorce
    but does not need a where or why.
    There is no place on a family tree

    she says, for lovers or life-long partners,
    however timeless or permanent.
    I too have a family tree
    where there is no place for your name.

  121. Janet Rice Carnahan

    IT’S COMPLICATED (A Family Villanelle)

    Families can be the jewel of our lives or the prison of our souls, undone
    A bond stronger and longer than we could ever break, letting us unite
    Earliest joy, greatest confusion, unwarranted pain, a sense of love and fun

    Activities for families, like going to beaches, lakes, streams in search of sun
    Creates wonderful memories and a sense of togetherness that feels right
    Dressed up in grown up clothes, prom and wedding dresses, leaving mother’s nerves undone

    Looking carefully through the past we see clearly what’s been done
    Whatever may have happened in families, making family members fight!
    Once cleared up with new communication, clarity and effort regenerates more fun

    We take what we learned growing up in our families with flair, hoping it will stun
    Reaching new crescendos we use quality and style, quite
    It if triggers anger, hurt, frustration, all efforts might come undone

    If it angers them too much, splitting apart what was happily there, we can always run
    Before anything escalates, causing any more angst, discomfort or unhappiness to bite!
    Returning to the commonality, history, true connection to each other and fun

    Because in truth there is nothing stronger than family, none
    That brings us back time and again to our original light
    Love is a force putting back together something possibly torn, undone
    Always guiding us back to where we first knew the true meaning of fun!

  122. Bruce Niedt

    Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is also to write a “family” poem, but from the point of view of another family member.


    I watch my five-year old scurry
    around the lawn, basket in hand,
    competing with the other kids
    to find the most eggs.

    I want to tell him, “Look over here!
    By this bush! By the playground swing!”
    because I have the best vantage point.
    But I can’t intervene.

    I lost my chance last year,
    because of one too many bad choices.
    If I could only get that day back,
    I’d do it differently, still be here today.

    If I could only will myself to be the wind,
    I could gently push him in the right direction,
    help him take a different path,
    help him find everything he wants.

    [Author's note: That five-year-old is now eighteen, and began life as our nephew but is now our son.]

  123. MichaelMcMonigle

    for my unborn

    Inside the intimate,
    Passion holds us
    Close as we are
    One. Instant life
    Transformed into another
    Birth of a soul,
    Holy in its trust
    Offered pure.
    Miraculous heart
    Joined through love
    Destined for future
    Known only in
    The untimed nature of God.
    Child new,
    Waiting for you.

  124. Linda Voit

    Even After 23 Easters

    it feels unreal
    seeing my parents’ names
    in the church bulletin
    on the donated Easter lilies list
    behind the words “in memory of”

    Linda Voit

  125. Sara McNulty

    The Pittsburgh Eagles

    Eagles have landed
    in Pittsburgh. No one
    knows why; everyone
    is watching. Eggs
    in the nest, shadow
    of a hawk, scared
    off by the male. Eggs
    begin to hatch. Baby
    eaglets shake off
    their shells, and are
    welcomed to the world
    by their parents.

  126. MyPoeticHeart


    Butterflies a gentle creature
    Wings so soft used to carry on the breeze
    Flowers of every kind match the species
    From weeds to roses there are butterflies

    We don’t really know much about them
    So many different kinds
    Hardly noticed unless we see one fly by
    Or worse, stuck to the grill of the car

  127. jasonlmartin


    My great-grandfather
    holds an iPad on his lap
    in this 1930’s black-and-white.

    There’s my great-grandmother
    pictured at Starbucks, drinking her
    Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte.

    Don’t believe me? Why
    can’t we believe our ancestors
    wouldn’t be functional in our time?

    What makes our generation
    so special? We would fall on our faces
    in their time. Utterly, unequivocally, useless.

  128. Natasa Bozic Grojic

    A computer is a family member, right?

    Just a Broken Machine

    This is not a dream,
    yet I can’t wake up.
    I am still alive.
    I know that
    because I remember everything.
    I remember his first steps,
    that restaurant that you always go to
    and that place
    where you planted a tree.
    Pity it never grew,
    though you watered it.
    I know what it was like
    to go diving
    and how it felt
    when you got those medical results.
    You told me your secrets,
    the ones nobody else knew about.
    I know what was deleted here
    and why.
    I have read your private blogs
    and I remember
    those incognito searches.
    There even came a point
    when I thought
    you and I were one.
    Now I can’t reach you
    and you have never learnt
    how to speak my language,
    or how to raise the dead.

  129. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    I’m here

    She drives me to (and home from) work
    and every day she texts me this
    and tho’ sometimes I drive her berserk…
    She drives me to (and home from) work.
    She puts up with my many quirks
    and those two words tell me she is.
    She takes me to (and home from) work
    and every day she texts me this.

    1. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

      I’m here

      She drives me to (and home from) work
      and every day she texts me this
      and tho’ sometimes I drive her berserk…
      She drives me to (and home from) work.
      She puts up with my many quirks
      and those two words tell me she is.
      She drives me to (and home from) work
      and every day she texts me this.

  130. Lori D. Laird

    It Was A Happy Easter

    We went to my brother’s house.
    Not everyone was there.
    Our parents and my youngest
    were seen no where.
    But that was okay.
    The feast went fine.
    Everyone had a good time.
    The loudest laughter was mine.

    My niece is a beautiful woman.
    My nephew as cute as a bug.
    My brother was tired.
    My sister-in-law talked about a stain on the rug.
    All in all it really was
    the most perfect of days.
    I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
    I love my family always.

  131. DanielR

    High school graduation in caps and gowns
    complete with swinging golden tassels
    should be a celebration without the heavier weight
    of family burdens on my shoulders at eighteen.

    While I was practicing my speech in front of the bathroom mirror
    you were signing admittance paperwork at an old folks home
    introducing Grandma and Grandpa to a new life they never wanted
    though I knew it was one they needed, but why on that day?

    You wore your melancholy like a black funeral suit coat
    stifling your joy and in turn smothering mine
    and just like it has always been my feelings didn’t matter
    because it was all about you on my graduation day

    Daniel Roessler

  132. Clark Buffington

    The Family’s Center

    You are the center of our little family and
    my best friend who laughs with me
    as I crack jokes no one understands

    You are the center of our little family and
    the mom they can’t seem to outgrow
    no matter big and tall they get

    You are the center of our little family and
    the glue that unites us against it all
    regardless of what the world does

  133. MaryAnn1067

    Bruised Fruits

    the branches hung heavy
    with fruit
    still reach
    for the sky

    sun and storming clouds
    seen through their
    jagged fingers, knobby, gnarled,
    the fruits bruised by
    their fall to earth–
    she tries to catch
    them all in outstretched hands,
    but cannot, the lost ones,
    thickly sweet, savored by a hum of insects,
    or shrunken by the sun
    into wizened faces

  134. fahey

    Donder’s Test

    Since I knew about you I have wondered
    when you – if you – would ever center
    in my field of view or loiter
    somewhere out in my periphery.

    But now

    since I know you are no longer,
    I wonder–

    did you ever wonder about me?

  135. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    Come mothers, come fathers,
    Come daughters and sons;
    Come hear of the great things
    That Jesus has done.
    How He spoke to the many,
    And spoke to the one;
    Come mothers, come fathers,
    Come daughters and sons.

    Come brothers, come sisters,
    Come uncles and aunts,
    Raise our voices in praise,
    Let us sing, let us dance,
    Celebrate new life,
    And our new second chance.
    Come brothers, come sisters,
    Come uncles and aunts.

    Hallelujah, hallelujah,
    Hallelujah, amen, and amen,
    Hallelujah, hallelujah,
    Hallelujah, again and again.
    Hallelujah, again and again.

    Come cousins, come neighbors,
    Come poor men, and kings,
    Let us give thanks for these
    Wonderful things,
    The sightless now see,
    The voiceless now sing;
    Come cousins, come neighbors,
    Come poor men and kings.

    Hallelujah, hallelujah,
    Hallelujah, amen, and amen,
    Hallelujah, hallelujah,
    Hallelujah, again and again.
    Hallelujah, again and again;
    Hallelujah, again and again

  136. PowerUnit

    The home these past few years feels like a wasp’s nest
    Zoom in, zoom out
    One kid comes home
    The other moves away
    The other comes back home
    I get sent away for work
    And the girl moves in with the beau
    I stay home for an extended vacation
    And they all leave
    As if I am contagious
    If the kids both ever decide to come home for holidays
    It’ll be the year we decide to cruise

  137. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    The girl who cried BINGO!!!

    She doesn’t go to church that much.
    We cannot blame her for being out of touch.
    The girl who cried BINGO!!!

    She had a line, not a full card.
    Called it out loud, caught all off-guard.
    The girl who cried BINGO!!!

    The room erupted in roaring laughter.
    She prayed for a sinkhole immediately after.
    The girl who cried BINGO!!!

    My sister tickled our funny bone
    and she will be forever known
    as the girl who cried BINGO!!!

  138. Bartholomew Barker

    Family Planning

    You can choose your family
    Not your natal family
    But all subsequent families

    However you are not allowed
    To choose just anyone
    That would be anarchy

    One man and one woman
    Natural children or
    Adoptions in the same race

    (It goes without saying
    That the man and woman
    Must be of the same race)

    I’ll rationalize it
    With a book obsolete
    A thousand years

    Because I know what’s best for everyone
    Because I will only approve of your family
    If it won’t make me uncomfortable

  139. rachelgrace

    a family of memory

    Orchards and ivy long gone from view
    Houses and boards creaking too
    Scent and vision clouded with tears
    Days of future, past, and present in fears
    Family, loss, and love
    In dearest form they look from above
    All lost to another time
    These memories of mine

  140. shellaysm

    (a Villanelle)

    You shouldn’t have gone there; we’re family
    I would never have treated you as such
    Or maybe I just shouldn’t have cared

    To excuse your thoughtless intentions
    would be selfishly, doubly unfair
    You shouldn’t have gone there; we’re family

    An apology that came too late
    could not fill the void or lessen the hurt
    Or maybe I just shouldn’t have cared

    If my feelings mattered enough to you
    this empty space would never have been
    You shouldn’t have gone there; we’re family

    This relationship’s irreparable
    Too much time has passed; our lives have moved on
    Or maybe I just shouldn’t have cared

    As I said, I can forgive you (for me)
    but I cannot forget or let it be
    You shouldn’t have gone there; we’re family
    Or maybe I just shouldn’t have cared

    Michele K. Smith

  141. Cameron Steele

    Final write-thru

    After A Family Fight

    Everyone was mad at everyone else
    for no good reason
    for all the wrong ones and no one
    felt like talking so
    we packed up the Polaris,
    went hunting for deer
    antlers instead. To do it
    right you gotta run it
    rough and slow, sidle up to
    the thick spots between
    cornfield and tall grass,
    hug the barbwire fences,
    keep your eyes on the mud.

    No one expected much.
    The snow melted months
    ago and everything, even
    in wide open states like
    South Dakota, gets picked
    over fast these days.
    Mom saw it first: A bit
    of white in the soil by
    Old Schaffer’s Slough.
    Her ragged shriek close in my ear
    and her hand on my father’s
    for the first time in days.
    Everyone started talking
    at once — it looks really big,
    I saw a buck here last month,
    think we’ll find the match —
    the clamor of relief loud over
    the purr of the Polaris but
    never enough to drown
    out the silence when the antler
    we hung our reconciliation on
    is nothing more than a shattered
    bone from last winter’s cow.

  142. Shennon

    You gave us hope,
    We burnt You bad.
    You didn’t give up,
    You never got mad.

    You gave us time,
    We got You again.
    Despite all Your warnings,
    We continued to sin.

    Now You give us Your Son,
    And say, “Treat Him well.
    For without Him,
    You’d be condemned to hell.”

    You make a request,
    We just blow it off.
    You say He’s our Savior,
    We continue to scoff.
    The judgment was passed,
    Today, that He die.
    Darkness covered the earth,
    As the hour grew nigh.

    The whole ground was shaking,
    Lightning split open the skies.
    We all fell on our knees,
    Lifting toward Heaven our cries.

    You foretell the second coming,
    Now as we lie around and grieve.
    You offer one last chance,
    To all that will believe.

    Next time we will be ready,
    Ourselves we reassure.
    Yet You can’t help but wonder,
    How long our intentions will endure.


  143. RebekahJ

    Inspired by Robert’s triolet, here’s another.


    The equinox brings us to sing
    Of all that’s hidden, and what’s found
    Wrapped matzah, eggs, the sun; slow spring
    The equinox brings us. To sing,
    You needn’t feel joy’s a sure thing
    Just glimpse that grief might turn around:
    The equinox brings us to sing
    Of all that’s hidden, and what’s found

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  144. Cameron Steele

    After A Family Fight

    Everyone was mad at everyone else
    for no good reason
    for all the wrong ones and no one
    felt like talking so
    we packed up the Polaris,
    went hunting for deer
    antlers instead. To do it
    right you gotta run it
    rough and slow, sidle up to
    the thick spots between
    cornfield and tall grass,
    hug the barbwire fences,
    keep your eyes on the mud.
    No one expected much
    luck. Snow melted months
    ago and everything, even
    in wide open states like
    South Dakota, gets picked
    over fast these days.
    Mom saw it first: A bit
    of white in the soil by
    the bank of Old Schaffer’s Slough.
    Her ragged shriek close in my ear
    and her hand on my father’s
    for the first time in days.
    Everyone started talking
    at once — it looks like a big
    one, I saw a buck here
    last month, think we’ll find
    the match — the clamor of relief loud over
    the purr of the Polaris.
    But it’s never enough to drown
    out the silence when the antler
    we hung our reconciliation on
    is nothing more than the shattered
    bone of a long-dead cow.

  145. Shennon

    You slap my face
    You say that I’m dumb
    You hurl the insults
    Til I’m finally numb.

    You resent me when I’m home
    Yet you curse when I’m not there
    I want to leave forever
    But don’t know if I dare.

    For I still love you, mama
    You can’t drive me away
    Despite the pain and hurt you cause
    My heart aches for you each day.


  146. break_of_day

    she climbed the bricks
    to peer inside
    a home

    that may become hers
    and her shadow moved against
    the window shutter, and

    they thought she was a car passing
    or leaves falling
    or a bird flying by, but then

    they saw her face
    and said, we cannot leave her
    and they

    named her Starbuck
    and joined her family to theirs
    six cats

    one home

  147. Alpha1


    Even though relatives say so
    I say no
    I can’t see the resemblance
    Between the two of us men
    Especially when it comes
    To looking out
    For the children we
    Brought into the world
    I take care of mine
    Do my best for them
    While he left his
    To fend for themselves
    Alone without him
    No support
    No protection
    No love
    But you look so
    Much like your Daddy
    They say
    Must have spit you out
    Relatives say
    And I still say no
    We not even related
    In that way

  148. DanielR

    I hate the way you blamed yourself
    for your son going astray
    and how each time he was thrown in jail
    it was you who had to pay
    you loved him all you could
    and gave him every chance
    but there was no foreshadowing or
    way to have known in advance
    how much that he would struggle
    with the years as they would pass
    and he began to hate himself
    seeking comfort in a shot glass
    you locked your liquor cabinets
    when he would come to stay
    and all those many sleepless nights
    when all you could do is pray
    that he would come home safe
    and when he didn’t you knew
    that he had reaped what he had sown
    and there was nothing you could do

    Daniel Roessler

  149. CathyBlogs

    To the little girls on Easter

    in flowery dresses
    and butterfly barrettes,
    you search as we watch.
    What was hidden
    last night as you slept,
    today you seek; you’re
    confident of the finding,
    although not of the prize.
    What shall be found
    in the long shadows
    of Easter morning?
    Still, you dance and
    run, twirl and leap;
    the mystery is your
    pleasure, and your
    reward. Soon the
    baskets will be filled,
    the morning’s hunt over,
    yet on you dance,
    past our waiting arms
    and into the day, more
    brave than we.

    by Cathy Dee writing at http://www.CathyBlogs.com

  150. Domino

    Colors for Family

    Oranges, the citrus spray fills the air
    as we cut off peels and cut out segments
    for the orange jello, a family
    recipe that has a frosting of Cool
    Whip. Next, we cut Key limes in half so
    we can extract the juice. It takes a while,
    but the time flies, and our hands smell so good.
    Condensed milk and powdered sugar blended
    with the juice and the beige liquid goes in
    the beige crust. We know how good it tastes, the
    color is just right. Potatoes peeled and
    onions and carrots placed around the roast,
    and it goes into the oven. Shell the fresh
    green peas and make sure the rolls are rising.
    They get cooked at the last minute so all
    the food is ready at the same time. And
    though I prepare the food alone today,
    the generations of cooks that taught me
    are still somehow here with me today. When
    the kids arrive, they smell the air, approval
    written on their faces. The colorful
    repast is the work of family, for

    Diana Terrill Clark


    The nervous excitement
    Sneaking ’round the house
    The rustle of the stuffing
    Trying to be quiet as a mouse
    Afraid to get caught
    Their belief makes it fun
    If by accident I’m caught
    It can’t be undone
    As I sneak around their room
    Being sure they won’t wake
    softly tucking them in
    As my hands begin to shake
    Their baskets in place
    I’m ready for bed
    I lay down for the night
    Excitement fills my head
    The morning will bring joy
    As we celebrate Jesus has risen
    A time to spend with family
    And we are free of hell’s prison
    As they wake in the morn
    The children will exclaim
    Happy Easter mommy
    The Easter bunny came!

  152. shellcook

    Prompt #20

    I close my eyes each night and by morning,
    I have met dozens of people.
    They are lining up in chairs in my living room.
    They are putting on charades to share their stories,
    and they are telling me their dreams;
    but what they are also doing is telling each other, and as they do,
    the knowledge is passed down to me.

    Perhaps not the specifics of a story, but the lilt of lyric
    of that ancestor’s life.
    It is a remarkable journey.
    Oh my, the ancestors have waited!
    I can feel their heartbeats in my own chest wall.
    All of us have a personal legacy that makes us very special
    in a very global way.
    They are waiting to talk to you.
    Just open your heart and let them in.

    This morning’s travels brought me
    rain falling upward from an ocean of tears,
    and each tear had a face,
    and each face an ancestor.
    In each face, I caught a glimpse of someone I love,
    and so this huge love becomes ever more encompassing,
    almost to the breaking point of love,
    but never quite beyond that.
    I hear them and in hearing them
    I hear you,
    and I love you so.

  153. TuLife

    “Mama Always Says”
    By: Tuere Aisha

    Mama always says,
    “When you wake in the morning, make sure you thank God.”
    And I would say,
    “Yes mama.”
    And I would do so.
    Mama always says,
    “Don’t be a fool for love. Take me as an example.”
    I would say,
    “Yes mama.”
    And I would do so.
    When mama gets upset, she often says,
    “How dare you? Don’t you be rude and call yourself talking back to me.”
    I would say,
    “Yes mama.”
    When mama gets really upset, she says,
    “You want me to send you to your father?”
    And I don’t answer.
    But the day I say,
    “yes mama” to that,
    I wonder what mama will say then.

  154. eileenonguam


    Gregorian chant surrounds me
    soothing voices sing me to heaven
    though I have not died
    I will meditate in Mom’s recliner
    rising only to eat, relieve myself
    cry myself to sleep in her chair
    where she napped, read the paper,
    watched TV, had conversations with me
    I thought we’d have more time
    but Death had other plans…

  155. jakkels

    The sun slips over the mountains 

    Releasing the tide of blackness

    that rushes to cover streets and houses.

     Lights pop on in lounges and kitchens 

    Havens of domesticity in the wild night.   

    To the homeless with their trolleys 

    These are memories of their youth 

    Sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter 

    But forever lost in the past   

    Family units society calls them 

    Where mothers and fathers , 

    sons and daughters, 

    extended families play or rest.   

    How often are these but illusions 

    Of the families society paints 

    Spiteful children, wicked parents 

    Wilful sons, and daughters too 

    Mental health sorely neglected 

    Leads to breakups drugs and death 

    Religeon’s gone and all have rights 

    And love and respect are dinosaurs 

    Mabe society’s, lost the plot.

  156. elishevasmom

    Family Reunion

    Not the dis-ease
    of staying civil
    with siblings not seen
    for a year,
    at least.

    Not the family
    politics of who
    is making more
    at which prestigious

    Not the competition
    of whose children
    are going to which
    pre-school to get into
    which private academy
    to get into which
    Ivy League college.

    But rather
    brothers and sisters,
    cubs or pups all,
    snapping, sparring,
    learn how
    to hunt, to
    kill, to thrive.

    Not the mother
    playing favorites.
    survival of the fittest.

    Ellen Evans

  157. DCR1986

    A Taste of Family Business

    After grace, the head of the family squared her lap.
    Using her semi-wrinkle, mahogany hand,
    she selected the silver from the left of her plate.
    She scooped and sliced the first servings on China.
    Then softly smiled while politely passing the collards
    to her first daughter who is sweeter
    than her plate of yams and southern tea.
    Her only son is the chicken out of the group that
    stirs up home-made laughter to choke up every soul in their seat.
    Patiently waiting, the new generation
    sat like macaroni and cheese until their turn.

    Over the savors of spices,
    the variety of cuisines dished out silence
    followed by a series of traditional “Mmm mmm good!”
    First chance, cousin sung a hymn.
    Second cousin proposed on bended knee.
    Third cousin was pretty in pink to
    announce the undeveloped new edition.
    By this time, joy is dancing in circles—
    limiting water the opportunity to feud with blood.

    Then, the head of the family speaks
     of the past to connect with the future.
    The strength of her voice sprinkled wisdom
    and tough love, and blended whole truths.
    Then her sister displayed her buffet of sweetness.
    And they were all gravy and well served.

    —Danielle C. Robinson

  158. Nancy Posey

    Southern Sonnet

    Our Southern mothers taught us wrong from right,
    to circumvent the primrose path to hell
    and more–to tell what’s tacky from polite,
    the fine distinctions of a Southern belle.
    We wrote our thank you notes before we slept
    a wink; we always followed protocol
    for dances, handshakes, salad forks. We wept
    with ladylike demeanor if at all.
    Our daddies did not have to warn us twice
    to mind our manners—What would people think?
    We mustn’t be just good; we must be nice–
    and wear pearls with the perfect shade of pink.
    And until Easter, none but brides would choose
    to be seen out in public in white shoes.

  159. Walt Wojtanik


    Cramped quarters, and crowded to overflowing,
    you never know how these things are planned.
    As it would stand, the animals had little say.

    It was sad and upsetting in a way,
    that the keepers made the choices and
    those without voices had little to say.

    The variety of the species was intriguing,
    in a league all their own, over-blown
    in scope, and that left little to say.

    Everyday, the wild ones were forced into domesticity,
    a simplicity to those cracking the whip. The zookeeper
    fond of rum indeed, due to breeding and nothing constructive to say.

    Four young lions, strong in spirit and vision,
    but always in division over their birth right
    and wrong as it sounded, they had little to say.

    Gazelles, graceful and girlish, flanked the habitat,
    concerned with this and that, did strive to survive the onslaught,
    but, they ought to have been allowed more to say.

    When it was feeding time “at the zoo”, the milieu
    benefited the fittest, as we crowded around the dinner table.
    You could label us as you wish, but each dish had something to say.

    Life in “the zoo” offered sanctuary, with nary a worry,
    for family gave you more than we “beasts” expected.
    We were well protected, and that said it all.

  160. Gammelor

    For today’s prompt, write a family poem.

    Though my father’s death was not a surprise,
    At the end there was still a shock.
    Among his things, a photo caught our eyes,
    Though my father’s death was not a surprise.
    A photo of a sister we did not recognize,
    Who too did not know she was one of our stock.
    Though my father’s death was not a surprise,
    At the end, there was still a shock.

    Gammelor Goodenow

    Dedicated to the sister I’ll never know.

  161. rebrog

    Family Mealtimes: An Escape Tale
    For RWJ

    Surrounded by psychotic 70s wallpaper
    we lied, evaded and pretended, such artifice.

    Family Sunday lunches almost beyond endurance
    jaws clenched with the pressure

    somebody passed potatoes to somebody else
    and nobody smashed the place down.

    Don’t know why we kept those secrets
    that’s just the way it was.

    Spent the first Christmas away from home
    in a grubby rental on Park

    with a found family
    of street saints and suburb refugees.

    Someone had whisky, someone else
    good cheddar, an eighth of Moroccan.

    Watched by the balding tom cat
    we danced in exhilaration,

    no-one over 25, all of us beautiful
    in thrift-shop clothes, all of us narcissists

    as the young are, doesn’t mean
    we didn’t love each other too.

    That was decades ago. – I admit
    we drink supermarket wine now,

    no longer have the contacts for hashish
    but if I’m not holding your hand

    when you leave here, my old friend
    I trust you’ll be holding mine when I do.

    Rebrog 4/20/14

  162. Michele Brenton

    Before and After.

    Nobody walks on their own
    and nobody ever sprang to life
    without somebody called them forth
    and all the chain that came before
    stretching back in history
    before we had a history
    before, before, before.

    Wherever we are
    Whatever we do
    we carry those who carried us
    we do, we do, we do.

    Michele Brenton April 20th 2014

    1. Michele Brenton


      This link leads to a photo-montage I’ve done combining this poem with some very old family photographs from the 1920s and 1930s showing my maternal family during their time in India and in North Wales. My grandmother and grandfather were missionaries in India and my grandfather was the methodist minister in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychchwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Anglesey!!

  163. pamelaraw

    The Last Photograph, 2003

    It was my father’s foresight
    to insist on a family photo,
    the photographer’s instinct
    to seat him at center,
    semi-circle the rest of us.

    The photo from 1999
    was afterthought, snapped
    before the church event
    only my mother attended.
    My sister and I dressed in jeans,
    my brother’s slick head and swollen
    jaw from a bad tooth that will be pulled.
    Smiling, my father stood back-rowed
    while my nephew sat up front–
    wide-mouthed and crying.

    The last time we did it right:
    assembled ourselves in our banquet
    best and stoic faces, placed
    all hands on his shoulders.

  164. laurie kolp

    First Holiday without Mom

    No phone rings at the wrong time, so you hum
    while cooking a holiday breakfast of sausage
    and grits, hoping to counterbalance the excess

    chocolate you’ve devoured now that Lent’s over,
    ignore the urge to listen to that saved voice message
    that brings you to tears every time. You try to think

    positive– there’s no shopping trips for new outfits, no
    traffic jams or last-minute rushes to drug stores for one
    more cheesy gift the kids will never use anyway, but

    there’s no new outfit or gift from Granma either. You
    get ready for church, remembering the day before
    your mother died– she said she’d rather be at the mall

    which you avoided this Easter, so you settle on a frock
    with shoulder pads that’s so passé, but what can you do?
    You step into a half-slip, your mom taught you to act all

    prim and proper like that; oh, yes she did, a Southern
    Belle with Emily Post manners that drove you bananas.
    You strip off your bra–the straps will fall– and smile.

  165. RuthieShev

    Family members are so much alike
    And different as night and day
    They often do things that I dislike
    But would miss if they went away.
    A sister’s bond is tightly tied
    And cannot easily be broken
    Even though some may have tried
    By tales which they have spoken.
    What can I say about a brother
    Incorrigible from the start
    A pain in the neck like no other
    But holding a place in one’s heart.
    Yes, family ties are hard to take
    When often there is stress or strife
    But they are impossible to break
    Because your family is your life.

  166. Jane Shlensky

    One of Theirs

    The song birds take turns at the feeder;
    chickadees and titmice select a seed
    and flit off to a branch to crack and feed.

    Even woodpeckers, who will empty
    a feeder pursuing a peanut, are made
    to look good when the cowbirds arrive.

    “They’re back!” We shriek, shooing them.
    Discourage them and they will leave,
    a local birder says, but cowbirds are stayers,

    bully-birds, pecking at the little birds,
    taking over feeders, nests, trees, laying
    their eggs among those of bluebirds

    and sparrows, wrens and mockingbirds.
    They will not raise their young, wards
    of the avian estate, dominating chow lines.

    On their face, they are handsome birds,
    black with brown hoods for the males,
    a sturdy brown for females, their gravely call

    reminding us they migrate with grackles
    and blackbirds, stripping fields where they land.
    The little birds politely clear the way for conquerors.

    Seeing what appears to be a cowbird nested
    among their hatchlings, they nurture it to flight.
    Born and fostered among blue birds,

    with a strong father and mother working together
    to teach nestlings bluebird values, when do dominant
    genes kick in, overcoming teachings?

    My mother and I argue nature or nurture,
    trading sides occasionally, both of us
    hoping nurture will overcome mean genes.

    Can we not love away aggression, undo nature
    with enculturation and good example?
    Can a cowbird become a bluebird in its heart?

    “Some children will take everything from a family
    and belittle their efforts,” Mama says, shrugging.
    “There’s one in every family,” she says

    about every freak of nature: criminals, crazies,
    know-it-alls, preachers, screw-ups, users.
    We pause remembering the cowbirds in our family,

    relieved that all families boast beloved miscreants
    that match or surpass our own, greedy and selfish,
    non-launchers, waiting to be provided for and served.

    Scan every family and you’ll find a squawking cowbird
    bullying but crying foul when you stand up to him,
    a loud-mouth leech who sucks you dry and flies away.

    How do songbirds feel about their cowbird sibling or child?
    We endow birds with human therapies: tough love,
    confrontation, intervention, kick the bastards out,

    knowing songbirds are patient and will let them eat,
    will raise their young, teach them to fly, and wait for migration.
    Are bird families more forgiving than we are?

    Mama looks at me, amused. “Things don’t need forgiveness
    for being what they can’t help being. Should a snake
    apologize for its skin and long for another shot at Eden?”

  167. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Patricia A. Hawkenson’s Day 20 Family poem

    While the Coffee Brews

    They say, “You can’t go home.”
    But if you do,
    you should also know that
    you can’t fry bacon alone.
    Smoke permeates
    all your childhood
    hiding spaces.
    They’ll all come out
    to give you advice,
    not too limp,
    not too crisp,
    and before the oil
    is poured out
    in the sink,
    your life,
    with all its savory details,
    lingers heavy in the air
    while you are fried
    and poked
    till you’re done.

  168. Kevin D Young


    Bear hug a dog, any dog. File for divorce
    and ask for the crowntail betta. Serve
    papers on a squirrel. Ask the girl
    on a date. Do not open unsolicited
    attachments from carpenter ants.
    Take a course in horse logic, and when
    the scaly-breasted lorikeet puts
    you off, rack out to Opus 43 in frog.
    On a free afternoon, should you find
    yourself so blessed, call your mother.

    1. rebrog

      So I visited and revisited this poem hit Wikipedia for some definitions and now I’m back. Not sure if I could tell you why but I love this. Something compelling about it. RR

  169. cbwentworth

    Rescued from abuse,
    he ran to his new mom
    Loyal from the start,
    and wagging with love

    His howls are fewer,
    and his face whiter
    While his teeth are gone,
    he still guards the house

    He’s led a good life,
    and gave me so much
    Always my furkid,
    right up to the end

    – – –

    C.B. Wentworth

  170. Kendall A. Bell

    Dinner for two

    My neighbor tells me that his wife
    doesn’t cook and I start to wonder what
    dinner is like for them – a diner,
    take out Italian food, the local Chinese
    dive. I wonder if she’s afraid that her
    OCD husband will be behind her cleaning
    each crumb, each splash of grease,
    so she lets the oven stay dormant.

    There is clove and cinnamon in the air.
    The refrigerator’s hum keeps us both
    company while the dog drags her bed
    back and forth between us, unable to
    choose who she will fall asleep next to.
    We have managed to avoid your mother’s
    wild kingdom of screaming children and
    squawking birds to have a quiet dinner.
    Cell phones are silenced – no one calls.

    Tomorrow, I will have to make something
    with the spotted bananas on the rack,
    but today, I only have poems to worry
    about and how much ham I should eat.

  171. lshannon

    Patchwork Family

    The man and the dog
    and a good friend who
    comes and goes as
    time allows.

    Warm constant
    mother and memories
    of others gone
    but not forgotten.

    Cousins far flung
    but close in mind and heart
    Aunts and Uncles

    the patchwork quilt
    of my stitched up family
    covers the distance wide
    ocean and landmass.

    I am distant and
    some would say distracted
    but no matter, really
    their love sustains me.

  172. PKpoet


    His Aunts were smokers. Two of them dropped dead from lung cancer at an interminably young age when there shouldn’t have been a coffin or a window or a shower where he found himself singing ding dong the witch is dead while suddenly realizing that was a terrible thing to think and maybe it would have been better to just kneel at the coffin and say a little prayer instead of voicing the unmetered response that he hated her all along and never really forgave her for taking a scrub brush to his skin because he had gotten into an absolutely joyful fit of glee in the mud puddles beside their stupid house in the new development that was going up in Jersey when he had just been a good boy on the block in Brooklyn and just smoked a little dope now and again when the rest of the kids were huffing glue and there’d be no real consequence for peeing on a fire when the boys all took down their pants and found a solution to this thing that was burning or the auburn falseness of the hair dye that was just another way of ignoring what might have been a real conversation about life and love and what matters in the glory of all things of the turning of the new century and no real money ever changed hands when they all began dealing drugs and selling everything that really was worth anything or the cousin who decided it was a good idea to steal the grandmother’s ring and hock it so that he could buy heroin and no amount of prayer or repentance or therapy or sitting on a rock in India was really going to make any of make sense and this pointless day of realizing that none of these people are really going to make any changes and none of the bodies were really ever going to be acceptable to the critic who once was a bathing suit model in the forties and it is so much more than that but they smoke like fiends and were thick as thieves and one of them used to ask them to finish the milk so that she could pocket the little silver milk pitchers in the diner and there was one that had this amazing chocolate pudding but it was nothing like the pound cakes on the counter or the big urn of coffee that was there as they were running through the house in wet bathing suits and some were in the basement smoking hashish and there were a bunch of cousins somewhere on the west coast that were having sex with Mexican chicks and they were suddenly loaded on a plane and sent back to the island where there were just builders and punks ripping up the landscape and making these giant houses and the whole of the land was just disappearing before their eyes and after all was said and done there was love.

  173. intheshadowofthesoul

    Family First
    Lydia Flores

    I was born into a nest
    close knit, stick for stick
    no bird left to its own wounded
    wing. We sat in the middle of the
    world and the world couldn’t break
    us with it’s strongest winter winds.
    We flew out, and we flew back home.
    Time continue to spiral out and they
    began to tend to their own little wings.
    We were no longer a hand to scalpel
    passing band-aids and praise around
    because you wanted to be the hawk
    the eagle, and we were in the way of
    your prowl for your desired weak prey.
    On your own you made it and on our
    own we had to find a way to make it.
    The nest fell from the tree and we
    were no longer wing to wing but a
    solo song to the afternoon winds.
    I don’t know where home is anymore
    but I’ll find my own and never forget to
    put my nest first even with a broken wing.

  174. Ashley Marie Egan

    Family Gathering
    by Ashley Marie Egan

    The chill of the morning
    Evaporates with the sun
    And it’s time for a gathering.

    My dogs wake me
    By nuzzling their wet noses
    Against my back until I laugh.

    Mom, thanks my siblings for coming,
    They murmur before changing the subject,
    But she knows I would never neglect the family.

    We mingle with an exchange of stories,
    They are all gone before sundown,
    And I help clean up the mess.

    They say the youngest child
    Is close to their parents for life,
    And I believe them.

  175. Alfonso Kuchinski

    Wicked affinities

    Constructed cathedral walls
    stained glass enshrined 
    unforgiving desire contained 
    impression of permanent temptation 
    projected through masculine epigraphs

    Plaster walls cracking lengthwise
    transient anthro pods revealed
    subversive earth deity 
    waiting in the wings
    squawking infant sermons
    impart greater wisdom
    than pompous preacher men

  176. CristinaMRNorcross

    What This Mother Knows

    It is because I know
    my youngest will get hungry
    exactly two hours
    after having breakfast.

    It is because I know to put
    a box of tissues between them
    on the back seat,
    to avoid the question,
    “Mom, do you have any … ?”

    It is because I know
    he likes a bottle of red wine
    waiting on the counter
    with garlic hummus on a Friday night –
    pretzel sticks, not pretzel twists.

    It is because I know
    that he puts Tabasco sauce
    on everything.
    I keep it stocked in the fridge.

    It is because I know
    my youngest son’s favorite t-shirt
    is neon yellow with a blue stripe,
    that I wash this one first.

    It is because I know to wait in the hallway
    after prayers,
    so my oldest can say, “good night!”
    three times before finally closing the door.

    This is family.

    Cristina M. R. Norcross
    Copyright 2014

  177. Misky

    They Were Rabbits

    Dad was the scent of strawberries,
    he carried it on him like a bee’s hum,
    even when he changed the oil
    in that old red rusted VW Rabbit
    he was still the scent of strawberries.
    Rabbits were Rabbits back then,
    not a Golf or a Polo, or anything
    other than a Rabbit. I thought it
    laughable that Dad tended that
    Rabbit with such porcelained care,
    and yet he’d curse the grey fluffy
    tailed ones eating his lettuces,
    and aim shiny buckshot
    at a spot between their eyes.

  178. Mama Zen

    I Come From God

    I come
    from God-fearing people.

    From streets picket thick
    with steeples.

    Where prayers fill the blue sky
    like eagles,

    and the preacher
    lives next door.

    I got Southern Baptist in my bones.
    Jesus loves me, this I know.

    My Grannie –
    when she prays God answers “yes, ma’am!”

    So, how’d I turn out like I am?

    Kelli Simpson

  179. Walt Wojtanik


    He walked a fine line;
    a blend between temper and tenderness.
    A battle scar of life running down his chest
    to his umbilicus; he was as good at his racket
    as a father ought be. He was unfinished,
    a draft of who he could’ve been.
    A man that could string good days together
    like strikes in a perfect game. Spare me the
    denigration, any crack in his foundation
    was merely a trace at best. Nothing could
    augment my current state or make me
    refrain from exulting the man. He would
    latch onto his family and hold on for dear life.
    And so it had been with my father!
    The cement that bonded our family together.

      1. Walt Wojtanik

        Yeah, lshannon, Dad straddled that fence. Firm but fair. Surgery for an ulcerated stomach tumor had left him permanently scarred, a reminder of his mortality. Fortunate for us he continued to hang around for thirty years after that fact.

  180. PressOn


    The brotherhood of man: it’s strained these days,
    and history replies that’s nothing new,
    for hatred always finds new ways to faze
    the brotherhood of man. It’s strained these days
    despite the words and myriad displays
    of artists. Peace, perhaps, cannot be, through
    the brotherhood of man. It’s strained, these days,
    and history replies, “That’s nothing new.”

    1. TomNeal

      Chamberlain had witnessed the “success” of the war to end all wars. I can understand his heroic effort to avoid war. In my opinion, he is unjustly vilified. With my rant over, let me state that I think you have captured the essence of the problem.

    2. Hannah

      This has me returning to my thoughts about those who must work outside of the home for long hours to make ends meet…how I wish there was more time for people to explore their creative sides…it’s a blessing for those that can combine the two. Thought-provoking, William.

  181. Andrew Kreider

    How to make a family

    Roll up the picket fence
    and place it by the highway
    then return, chastened

    brush off your hardened earth
    and cherish every zigazg crack
    every song of whistling bone

    wait, wide-eyed, and do not insist.
    love each season and trust
    the wisdom of the weeds.

  182. jean

    Three Bouncing Baby Girls — a Triolet

    Three daughters blessed ol’ Mike and Jean
    Though now they’re grown and gone away
    They’ve leapt beyond, adventuring
    Three daughters blessed ol’ Mike and Jean
    Uneven stretches in between
    Like bungee cords that bounce and sway
    Three daughters blessed ol’ Mike and Jean
    Though now they’re grown and gone away

  183. Walt Wojtanik


    Gentle spirit
    in angelic guise. Eyes
    blue and weary, A dear soul
    in control of her heart.
    A font of love, endless
    and ever-flowing. Growing
    the youngest of supposed
    wiser ones. Of sons
    and daughters beyond
    her years her fears
    are unfounded. We have
    been grounded to care
    for each other, a sister
    and brother tethered by love.
    Above all else we are
    a swatch of the same cloth,
    our threads intertwined. woven
    into each other. She is in my
    fabric; I am in hers. We are bound,
    we have found each other
    again. Friends and siblings
    living, giving, sharing a lineage.
    At any age we are forever together.
    The way a family should be.

  184. Monique

    Family Portrait

    It seems like a perfect family photo at first glance
    But what the picture doesn’t reveal
    Is that the parents’ marriage is a bad romance
    The brother has a life he keeps concealed
    The daughter want to set out and find her own path
    But her mother placed puppet strings on the little girl’s hands
    The father has wandered and suffered the matriarch’s wrath
    All of them assuming that the other understands
    The members of this family are tied together with a smile
    An illusion of togetherness captured on glossy paper
    The lies they carry mount to miles and piles
    Until the lives break and the bond they have tapers
    Into a faded memory filled with empty joy
    The illusion is shattered; the family, destroyed.

  185. KS20x1

    ***Disclaimer: This is my first time really trying to do dialogue so I apologize if I do it horribly but good news is it wont happen very often :) ***

    A son calls his mother crying and clearly upset.

    “Mom?” he says in a pre-teen squeak

    “Yes baby? What’s wrong? Are you okay!”

    The next five minutes were filled with her sons heart wrenching sobs and one long, twisted knife, shrill as frustration, stress, anger and the longing flooded all throughout his tiny eleven year old body.

    “Yes baby momma is here” quickly correcting her own triggering teeth and stammer.

    “They are being mean to me” The boy says.

    “I am sorry, what can I do to help?” Her statement came with a pre-filled promise and she was praying with all the red in her vision and fists ready to pull back she could fulfill it. After a while she was growing ever more concerned that she couldn’t.

    He and she sat on the phone while he quietly sobs. And she is trying to give him comfort she know he deserves in person and clearly is only helping a little at a time. Still, she counts with him to ten, makes those promises she hopes she can keep up with. A boy who has been so let down won’t forget a single one and who can really blame him right?

    “I love you mom, I want to come home.”
    He continued to speak.

    In the background she can hear the man and woman responsible for her child’s well-being actually taunt him. Not allowed to play outside, cannot have a private conversation, especially with his mother. He’s been told to stay out of the refrigerator, they pulled the plug upstairs away from them on the game systems. (every eleven year boys refuge I am sure) No way to escape from there. Forbidden all freedom.

    She has her face in the pillow so that he wont her her scream.
    The mother prayed, she was in a terrible way anyway that day. The package she sent to him for the holidays didn’t get there on time, Nobody to confide in, likewise trapped inside herself like her son. She felt all she did was wrong! After all, it is all she has been told. Feeling rotten to the depth of her core and nobody seems to understand or care.

    No! She would ‘try again!’

    “Honey tell me what I can do for you.” She asks again.

    His voice was loving but the deep shift in his tone told her it carried resentment.

    So, she braces herself for what he would say next.
    “Mommy.” Voice goes down again and it was sad very dark and somber.

    She pictures him tear soaked…he starts again, “Mom I’m lonely for you and I love you. Please I need a better life than this.”

    Her heart if there was anything left was gone the second her son had to plead for what every other child gets, for what every child asks for and hers; hers had to beg? Him having to ask for her affection, stability, a real family, protection, her in the physical form! Everything she had intended for him, everything she didn’t deliver on, everything every single child regardless is deserving of!

    She’s lost everything she has ever loved. With her best plans or intentions and she tried so hard fought and failed to no avail. I mean everything is gone. Every person, material possession, her home, only two close living relatives left. She would rid of herself for his sake she’d go away let him be happy maybe even peaceful more often than this at least. ‘What do I do?’
    she asks herself, always prepared for a fight. Always wanting one of life’s elusive breaks.

    His voice stopped her mid-thought.

    She sits up, clears her throat, grits her teeth and begins to take it; “yes sweetheart” she had to whisper.

    He said “I need a better home than this.” then
    “I need to go to bed they are making me go now”

    He took a breath quiet and timidly were the words…”I love you momma.”

    “I’m so sorry” she says as she dial tone kicks in.

    It will only take her about a half of an hour to realize all that she said was only pity for herself.

    In the morning she couldn’t be found.

    TMBB- By Kelley Stephens http://www.kelleystephens20.wordpress.com

  186. Gabrielle Freeman

    A Good Home
    by Gabrielle Freeman

    Sarah came from a carpet-lined cardboard box
    a father and son, both blonde as floss, had parked outside
    the local Food Lion. She came tiny with her name
    like a dare from the son’s bright lips. Pop eyes the color
    of smoke in a skull like barely balanced blocks topped
    her body. She mewed from the boy’s careful grip,
    claws and teeth primed to fight. He held her out and up,
    an offering, a plea. The father flicked flame at the tip
    of his cigarette, ran his grease-rimmed fingernails
    through his son’s cornsilk hair. It’s the last one he murmured
    through a thin mouth pursed around the yellow butt,
    as though I could not see the bottom of the carton,
    the frayed beige remnant dotted in fleas. Sarah’s belly
    distended as she hung from stubby fingers,
    her pale gray skin imbedded with pests. I took her,
    watched relief spread like the end of a burden
    on the father’s wind-reddened face, like punching
    a time sheet at the end of a shift. Watched the son’s face
    fall as he followed his father, as he glanced back at me.

    Grown fat now, Sarah’s plush black paunch sways side to side
    as she ambles through our house. Her feet along the hall
    punctuate the morning like a child’s patter. Often now,
    she is still, staring at the corner of the bottom stair.
    A family of field mice scurry inside. It is winter,
    and our house is warm, dry, and kibble is easily filched
    by mothers of hungry pink babies. Some mornings,
    I find a small gray body in the middle of the floor.
    I wonder about the pups, blind, naked, deaf, creaking
    across shredded stolen tuft, paper lined plyboard,
    the dark forgotten space of underneath, a good home.

  187. Walt Wojtanik


    We come, a communion of spirit
    in the union of souls. Committed one
    to another, sisters of gentle words,
    brothers bound in the beauty of expression.
    It is the direction we have chosen,
    no one more than the next. The text
    of all we pen will be heard again and again.
    Coming from all walks, living in many
    places, faces familiar and soon to be.
    We are international, we are inseparable,
    our blood joins us all. We are together,.
    we are poetic. We are family.

    1. drnurit

      I love this poem, and I love your definition of family. I can see them — “committed… from all walks… international… inseparable… poetic…” Reading this “Together” makes me sad for being an only: In spite of everything, “our blood joins us all…” I can use this poem when teaching Family Dynamics — so much said in just a few poetic sentences…

      1. Walt Wojtanik

        Thanks for the kind words, Nurit. This place truly feels like “home” and all our poets here are indeed “family”. We support, nurture, offer constructive advice and criticism. At time, we just leave each other alone, knowing the silence is as teaching as the most verbose lesson. If you feel my poem can help the “Family Dynamic”, then by all means, use it.

        1. drnurit

          Thank you, Walt, for a thoughtful response. Still in awe witnessing a virtual community that has become “family” in many ways. I have never seen this before, and I keep on trying to understand how this process of becoming has evolved. But it did – a very big family, and yet “together…” Amazing… Thanks for being so inclusive and so supportive, and for creating a truly open system – where new comers are welcome any way they wish to enter and be…

  188. pomodoro


    I clean out the house.
    It is harder than the burial.

    A story of sixty two years
    cannot be erased like a careless checkbook entry.

    I take everything of importance to me
    and walk away.

    1. drnurit

      Deeply touched. Reading it and nodding… Yes, cleaning out the house is harder than the burial, and choosing “everything of importance” – deeply painful (and meaningful, and telling as much about ourselves as it does about the one we lost…)

  189. inkysolace

    cracks in the glaze, drying dishes
    slipped into the security of a rusting metal rack
    I soak up water with my fingers between towel threads
    and listen to the dinner table conversations
    held over poker and potato chips
    my brother is grown up, speaking opinions he hasn’t tested
    my father drinks his past from his coffee
    cup and curves the silence around the unlit room
    until my brother leaves his rampant, wandering ideals
    and returns to what we have been taught
    the dishes are clean, carefully placed into the wrong cupboards
    hidden behind chipped paint and knobs no one else touches

    –jessica marino

  190. elledoubleyoo

    A Lesson Learned Years Later

    They say we all turn into our mothers, we women,
    but it’s my father’s voice I hear most often
    echoing in my own. His wit, dry, wry
    and sometimes too subtle for uncareful ears
    to catch, gets me in trouble now and then.
    “Don’t be sorry, just don’t do it again,”
    I hear myself say to one of my students,
    the words from my father finally makes sense–
    apologies are hollow promises, fake;
    actions speak, not louder,
    but in whispered reverence,
    of a heart that’s learned from its mistakes.

    1. TomNeal

      the words from my father finally makes sense–
      apologies are hollow promises, fake;
      actions speak, not louder,
      but in whispered reverence,
      of a heart that’s learned from its mistakes.

      Profound. Thanks.

      1. elledoubleyoo

        Thanks for the comment! I’ve struggled today with the prompt, I think because I’ve written a few “family” poems so far. I had to step back and narrow it down instead of taking broadstrokes.

        1. TomNeal

          It is a difficult prompt. I think part of the difficulty with it is that it invites abstraction over concrete images (at least for me, and ditto colour). It’s not that it can’t be made concrete- there are several excellent posts, but its first suggestion is give me a homily. I think you have tied the homily to something real, and that is good.

  191. Eibhlin


    My super parents
    with their easy happiness,
    their united family,
    forgot just one thing.

    They never taught me
    that easy happiness
    is hard-earned,
    that united families
    are never automatic,
    but always quickly slither
    back towards chaos
    if left unattended.

    I’m divorced now.
    I blame it
    on my super parents
    and their easy happiness.

  192. Poetess

    A Family Ode Rhyme

    What’s your name?
    Elizabeth Jane Sarah?
    Who are you Emily?
    Sylvia Julie Anna?

    Timeless I know
    Of family quirks
    Weeping my knees
    Reading your works

    As my birds sing
    Rape slavery oppression
    The common sting

    Mental defects live on
    Words and ages
    Tying one to the other
    Together your pages

    What has changed?
    Turning times racing
    Your hymn heard the night
    Titanic’s death facing

    Women of now how?
    Perspectives matter
    I write of this yours
    Is none the sadder?

    But were these as good
    Words fighting time
    Outliving tradition
    A family ode rhyme

  193. beachanny

    Women Weaving

    Intricacies within each human cell
    gamete and zygote each a woven
    double helix of information all bearing
    one fundamental pair of genes.
    Historical, identifiable, inexorable
    and indisputable belonging to
    one woman, the first woman, the
    Eve genes. We are a matriarchy,
    we the human family. We come from
    a woman and each time through
    a woman..a woman who weaves.

    And what does she weave this
    universal mother of ours. She weaves
    what she has, who she is, where she is,
    what she eats, breathes, lives, sees,
    she weaves her dreams, her prayers,
    and her aspirations. She weaves love
    of partners, of parents, her children,
    of flowers and bowers, of rocks and of rills,
    of peace, of harvest, of fair winds and gentle days.
    She weaves colors of rainbows, and
    foam on the waves with cloudy horizons
    ribbon-striped with sun’s setting rays.

    She weaves sorrows, dying, illness and war.
    She weaves loss in her dirges, despair for
    disease. She weaves fierceness and courage
    with fearless resolve, a tender pity and giving
    with an urgency to repair broken hearts and
    heal the ones who are sick, to find understanding,
    to keep faith and to fix.

    These are the gifts that a mother gives to her
    family, these woven in genes, in textiles,
    in paintings, in baskets, in pitchers, in gardens
    that grow vegetables and flowers, in order
    and pattern that she overlays on chaos, on
    schedules, on festivals, on seasons each day.
    These are the family ties brought to us
    in woven boughs from many generations
    of our mothers.

    © Gay Reiser Cannon * 4.20.2014

  194. Taylor Mali

    What Would Jesus Do?

    Last night was Saturday night,
    the only night Jesus never lived
    between the day of his crucifixion
    and the day of the rolling stone
    doorway, which makes me think
    of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
    and whether that’s what they meant
    when they named the band, not
    the kind that gathers no moss.

    Saturday night, which is wild
    as a result, and honored, my brother
    Peter says, by alcohol and yelling
    unassailable truths out the window
    to passing strangers. Truths like,
    It’s Saturday night! and even
    We’re going to the store to buy beer!

    And today is Easter. And his birthday,
    too. Peter’s not Jesus’s. But it is also
    the birthday of Adolf Hitler, a fact
    I never let Peter forget when young,
    leaving him messages sometimes
    in a German accent, pretending
    to be Adolf, calling from hell,
    depressed and hot but wanting
    to make the effort anyway.

  195. emmaisan0wl

    Love Is A Single Airline Ticket
    “this is my definition of love:
    when my parents were our age,
    in love like we were
    (but not like that at all)
    my father told my mother
    that if she dared to miss the chance
    to study under a sky a thousand miles away
    on his account,
    he would break up with her.
    (she waited to tell me this
    until she could see us beginning to crumble
    when I said I wanted to travel
    and you tried to make me promise
    to stay.)
    this is my definition of love:
    wanting someone to soar,
    not clipping their wings purely because
    you cannot fly alongside them.
    this is my definition of love:
    sunday morning. my mother, my father,
    two coffees and a newspaper in two parts,
    thirty years of building
    each other’s wings.”

  196. uneven steven

    For your family Hallmark cards are always best
    for saying I love you I miss you and I’m sorry
    give the triolets and fancy imagery a rest
    for your family Hallmark cards are always best
    you only see them for important events now like death
    and your being different will only make them worry
    so for your family Hallmark cards are always best
    for saying I love you I miss you and I’m sorry

  197. AleathiaD

    Tangential Paths

    This is the first holiday
    since my mother’s death
    and try as I might to push
    it under, to submerge it
    happy memories of the past
    I cannot seem to drown
    the empty hole drilled
    somewhere on the left
    side of my chest.

    There will not be a phone call
    passed around to every aunt
    and uncle at the family dinner;
    there won’t be shouts of “Beaver”
    from the other room as they eat
    horseradish that burns the roof
    of their mouths; there won’t be
    a cacophony of sound
    that is the blended, singular
    voice of my loved ones.

    I had hoped to build
    traditions of my own
    in this well-worn
    but newly acquired house.

    But the plans of the day
    misaligned from mine,
    and my heart still too fragile
    to fight off the pain
    of these tangential paths
    so I listened to Perlman
    playing Bach and dug in the dirt
    anger rolling off my cuffs
    while the sun made me sweat.

    And through all this, the lesson
    I learned yesterday about the effects
    of ego clinging kept slapping me in the face,
    taunting me really, because I could not
    seem to let the feelings go.

    Eventually they passed sitting on the swings
    high above the valley, blowing bubbles
    with my daughter who just so happens
    to not be too old for that this year.
    We watched the soaring planes
    take off over our heads and talked
    about how badly I handled the day.

    She placed her hand on my arm,
    smiled with her brilliant eyes
    and told me at least it’s sunny,
    and we have coffee, and each other.

    I know this is what
    was really supposed
    to happen today;
    this moment we will
    keep with each other
    on an Easter without
    formal traditions.

    Aleathia Drehmer 2014
    April 20 Family

  198. k_weber


    As it is another holiday
    I am my own family now

    Thanksgiving I built myself
    a blanket fort and watched

    Gene Hackman have The Conversation
    with Francis Ford Coppolla

    I ate off-brand cheeseburger
    macaroni in a bowl balancing a pillow

    Easter I ate myself
    a chocolate egg oozing caramel

    This is just after the pink
    lemonade and a Hot Pocket

    My fingers are sticky
    and I’ve got candy hands

    I am thinking about thinking
    about things

    Maybe I will do a podcast
    since no one bothers me for months

    I could write a novel or even die
    and not a single person would nod

    Good thing my mother’s dating
    and my sister is a family in Illinois

    My dad and I barely speak
    and he forgets to communicate on holidays

    My grandma and uncles are people
    at the end of a one-line email, a joke

    I divorced all my in-laws
    ten years ago and I don’t want children

    They would only take my sweets
    and get dirt anywhere there is a porous surface

    I have family I don’t know
    and will never meet; not even at our funerals

    You, you don’t love me and I just radiate
    because at least you like me and sometimes listen

    We talk and I make plans
    for us in my head too much

    We kissed last weekend and now I haven’t
    heard from you since Tuesday

    Those who share my blood and branches
    must know I just adore being left alone and hanging

    – k weber

  199. acele


    First begotten
    And what does it mean
    to be begotten?
    For try as I may
    to turn away
    You’ve gotten me, Lord.

    Drawing all men
    And what does it mean
    to be risen, Lord?
    For try as I may
    to keep it there
    You roll the stone away from my heart.

  200. James Von Hendy

    Family Car Catches Fire Among Lions

    —BBC News headline, April 19, 2014
    The clipped listing read “Looking for inspiration?
    This church is located in a residential estate zone
    W/views. Bring your tools. Zoned for exotic animals.”
    Seriously. They had us pegged. A little touch
    Of the Serengeti right in Pasadena.
    Bring your tools. Not dad’s greatest forte, tools,
    But he loved cramming us into the ’68
    Beetle. I had to sit between my brothers
    So they wouldn’t fight (my idea of exotic
    Animals for sure). Mom spend half of every trip,
    Her neck twisted like a giraffe’s, yelling at us
    To behave. Dad’s pride. And joy. A trip
    To the wilds in a car he neglected to maintain.
    We laughed like hyenas at every stop light
    When he stalled out. Nerves? Frustration? No
    Windows to roll down, the sun roiling, no radio,
    Just the gated estates rolling past, then weeds,
    Tall grass, the elephantine church listing east
    Across the suburban veldt and lounging lions
    In the jagged shade. Tawny sphinxes yawned,
    The engine sputtered, died, and would not start.
    “Get out and push,” dad said, jump-starts the one tool
    In his belt. “But dad, the lions,” we all agreed.
    “Do what your father says,” mom roared. A lioness
    Of bundled nerves herself, she got out first, then herded us
    Out back to push. Nothing. A cacophony of cicadas.
    Dad popped the hatch and scratched his head. “Don’t touch
    A thing,” he growled, his usual mechanical policy,
    And just as well. “It must be the fuel line.” He jiggled
    The metal line and jumped back as if bitten
    By a snake. The rich aroma of gasoline
    Filled the air, a hissing, like steam, then smoke
    And flame. “Get back,” he ordered, for once inspired
    By common sense. The timing belt, a black mamba
    Of accusation lay coiled at his feet. Fire rose
    To the sky like offering. The lions waited. Yawned.

    1. James Von Hendy

      Whoops. Lost my stanza breaks. Let’s try again.

      Family Car Catches Fire Among Lions

      —BBC News headline, April 19, 2014

      The clipped listing read “Looking for inspiration?
      This church is located in a residential estate zone
      W/views. Bring your tools. Zoned for exotic animals.”

      Seriously. They had us pegged. A little touch
      Of the Serengeti right in Pasadena.
      Bring your tools. Not dad’s greatest forte, tools,

      But he loved cramming us into the ’68
      Beetle. I had to sit between my brothers
      So they wouldn’t fight (my idea of exotic

      Animals for sure). Mom spend half of every trip,
      Her neck twisted like a giraffe’s, yelling at us
      To behave. Dad’s pride. And joy. A trip

      To the wilds in a car he neglected to maintain.
      We laughed like hyenas at every stop light
      When he stalled out. Nerves? Frustration? No

      Windows to roll down, the sun roiling, no radio,
      Just the gated estates rolling past, then weeds,
      Tall grass, the elephantine church listing east

      Across the suburban veldt and lounging lions
      In the jagged shade. Tawny sphinxes yawned,
      The engine sputtered, died, and would not start.

      “Get out and push,” dad said, jump-starts the one tool
      In his belt. “But dad, the lions,” we all agreed.
      “Do what your father says,” mom roared. A lioness

      Of bundled nerves herself, she got out first, then herded us
      Out back to push. Nothing. A cacophony of cicadas.
      Dad popped the hatch and scratched his head. “Don’t touch

      A thing,” he growled, his usual mechanical policy,
      And just as well. “It must be the fuel line.” He jiggled
      The metal line and jumped back as if bitten

      By a snake. The rich aroma of gasoline
      Filled the air, a hissing, like steam, then smoke
      And flame. “Get back,” he ordered, for once inspired

      By common sense. The timing belt, a black mamba
      Of accusation lay coiled at his feet. Fire rose
      To the sky like offering. The lions waited. Yawned.

  201. gmagrady


    Every once in a while
    I visit your resting place,
    walking through the
    peaceful greens of the path
    that leads to you
    where I sit and pick dead dandelions
    blowing their cotton skeletons into the air
    making wishes
    saying prayers.
    I run my fingers along
    the sides of
    a concrete slab
    with tiny shimmering flecks
    that reflect the stars on cemetery soil
    where the ants roam
    along angel wings and
    across the pressed lettering
    of your name,
    your would-be name
    which you gave to our sister,
    the name of Donna,
    like Madonna
    like Our Lady
    like Our Mother of God.

    It was about this time of year
    you were due
    so many years ago
    still kicking
    still letting Mom know
    you were there,
    but the doctors let you go
    they let you go
    several more weeks
    thinking you weren’t ready
    to come out screaming like the rest
    of us
    but God knew you were there, too,
    readying yourself for final
    birth and death
    in unison,
    and your sad song lulled them awake
    night after empty night
    in our parents’ bed
    wondering what God was thinking
    night after empty night
    down the hall from your barren
    no crib or rocking chair
    to remind them of what was supposed
    to be—
    their new family.

    I don’t think God
    had second thoughts by taking you.
    I believe
    you were destined to be
    and carried
    and then surrendered.
    You were the only child to
    have Dad’s fair skin and light hair,
    the stark opposite of
    the next five children
    born one each year,
    entering this world—
    a miracle,
    an answer to Mom’s prayers to St. Gerard—
    screaming the way a baby is
    supposed to be announced.
    And when the doctors
    warned them
    scorned them
    about not having any more
    that Mom couldn’t survive it,
    you were there,
    talking it over with our Lord
    whispering in His ear
    stating your case
    that they needed another
    just this last time,
    and you watched over them
    and the little one inside
    with similar
    fair skin and light hair
    who came forth
    facing the stars.

    When I think of family
    I include you,
    for without
    I don’t think I’d be
    the seventh child
    of Mom and Dad,
    not the sixth as so many
    people think from our group pictures.
    But I see you
    every day
    your wings fluttering on my shoulder,
    and I hear your sweet words of encouragement,
    and I feel your tiny hands wiping away my tears.

    Though we’ll never meet in this earthly life
    I thank God for you, my sibling,
    my family,

    my guardian angel,
    Donna Marie.

    (5/9/1958 – 5/9/1958)

  202. Brian Slusher


    By the cornfield, we stared
    stunned at the torn grill of our car,
    the deer it struck disappeared
    to die in a private place, and the

    metal looked like cardboard
    shredded carelessly, and as
    we traced its burst seams
    hypnotically, no one saw

    the cat jump out of the back,
    and we caught just a quick
    blur as he streaked through
    the wire fence into the hubbub

    of the high stalks, the breeze
    strumming the field into a
    sound like applause, like a
    devouring ocean of glee at

    our double misfortune, and
    we called and shouted the
    name of love and heard it
    echo, dissolve in the hot air

    until our father pushed us
    crying into the wreck, saying
    we have to move on, but our
    mother stood fast, her hands

    cupped to her mouth, and
    she called again, and from
    the green oblivion the cat
    gently stepped back into

    her arms, and that, friend,
    is what I cling to when in
    doubt, a woman cradling a
    cat beside a gravel road.

  203. Azma


    Its time for a family movie
    We all snuggle together in the couch
    My brother inserts the DVD
    Its time for a family movie
    My sister slurps on her smoothie
    My father relaxes his abdominal pouch
    Its time for a family movie
    We all snuggle together in the couch

    -Azma Sheikh

    1. k_weber

      “My father relaxes his abdominal pouch” is such a surprising image! Very nice. I also love the repetition and rhyming and how sometimes the lines just barely rhyme but are close enough to keep a rhythm flowing.

  204. Amy


    The chair to the right of me sits empty
    a missing stitch, a tear laid bare
    I stretch across to reach the peas
    the chair to the right of me sits empty
    we talk of weather, a balmy breeze
    stirs the curtains like a prayer
    the chair to the right of me sits empty
    a missing stitch, a tear laid bare

  205. Azma


    In between genus and order it comes
    It divides
    or further sums
    Divides due to differences
    causing ignorance and distances
    Sums up due to love
    and bringing down of fences
    Darwin decreed well
    of coming from the same ancestor
    But are we prepared
    for going to the same master?

    -Azma Sheikh

  206. DanielAri

    “The rabbi’s daughter”

    In the classic story,
    the way I pictured it,
    the nude woman simply
    took Adam by the bits
    and led him to the tree.

    She’d grown a smile and tits
    and talked like she had plans
    with me. Zeda witnessed
    the scene. When she moved on
    alone, he said, “You’re slow.”

    I couldn’t imagine
    how we’d go from shmoozing
    to a private Eden,
    just the new, naked two
    of us, clicking magnets

    from “Hi. How do you do?”
    to the biblical zoo.


  207. MDickson


    She’s seventy today. At this point
    she been my child longer than I was hers.

    In her basement apartment my husband
    tutors her on a new Smart TV, the intricacies

    of its remote, the possibilities she will know
    on screen. Upstairs, the children long already

    for next year’s Easter basket; there’s lamb in the oven,
    and mint on the windowsill. She’ll want balloons,

    a cluster of daisies, ice cream. She’ll need her pill box
    of narcotics, muscle relaxers, mood stabilizers, and three more

    skeins of yarn for the blanket she’s been knitting
    twenty years, and may knit for twenty more.

  208. lionetravail

    “Family History”
    by David M. Hoenig

    I’m grandson to some heart attacks,
    cholesterol and nasty strokes,
    and vascular Jabberwock snicker-snacks;
    I’m grandson to some heart attacks.
    Cancer’s been around to tax,
    but only nibbles, never chokes.
    I’m grandson to some heart attacks,
    cholesterol and nasty strokes.

  209. Linda Goin

    Kith and Kin

    Ownership, ownership, ownership.

    I can’t talk about family
    without talking about ownership
    from a room where I can say
    I own nothing
    but a contagious rage
    that burns every single space
    I thought I owned.

    Flute notes conjure air so rare
    that they suck words from my mouth
    and the only music that emerges
    sounds like coyote howls,
    which work better than bricks
    for building solid walls.

    Kith and kin can kindle
    those sweat lodge fires
    in wombs that prompt
    the song and dance required
    to emerge hot and hopeful.

    As I leave this family
    to return to another family,
    I toss my pajamas in a bag,
    but I carefully fold

    my mother’s robe, a respect
    reserved for what she owns.

  210. P.A. Beyer

    What we dreamed of, when we dreamed Oregon

    The albuterol sits in the bathroom drawer (but we rarely need to find it.)
    The air is so much cleaner, with the rains. Always growing,
    The children are sprouting, the sunflowers they are.
    You and I grow older (and sometimes wiser), and for now
    We still cut loose, Footloose.

  211. De Jackson

    Family Trees

    Daddy was an oak,
    solid and sure.

    Mama was a maple,
    sweet and pure.

    Sister was a cypress,
    the lonely one.

    Brother was a palm,
    exotic and fun.

    She, a willow
    who longs to be
    an aspen, dancing
    in the breeze.


  212. lionetravail

    “Clip ‘N’ Snip”
    by David M. Hoenig

    In olden days, vasectomy
    was for those of the Sunkist creed:
    it promised one the revelry
    with all the juice and none the seed!

    It’s true that those who did agree,
    were those for whom this was needy:
    a nonnuclear family
    anti-proliferate treaty.

  213. Andrea Heiberg

    The Blister Feet Family

    We go west
    to the hill
    down along slopes
    following the trails
    always there for one another
    with an extra pair of comforting
    in Australian, Irish, Canadian,
    it all sounds English to us
    anyway we smile
    and we head for the black mountain
    as one big family
    and we can do anything.

  214. lionetravail

    “Beleaguered By Legacy”
    by David M. Hoenig

    On many days I simply can’t
    envy my wife, her life. I’d rant
    against her crazy family
    which left her as anomaly
    of thoughtful, caring, not distant.

    Her qualities I’d happ’ly chant,
    while she reports her assets scant.
    Her parents gave her love, but see,
    on many days I simply can’t

    forgive them all they didn’t grant
    to her. Her mom’s depressed descant
    was counterpoint to tendency
    of dad to narcissist degree.
    Forgiving them, plus crazy aunt?
    On many days I simply can’t.

  215. De Jackson

    Cramming 101

    Kingdom, Phylum, Class
    Order, Family, Genus, Species,

    Her mind’s biologically at an impasse.
    Kingdom, Phylum, Class…
    Her brain mainframe’s about to crash;
    she’s an animal who’s set her teethies
    on Kingdom, Phylum, Class
    Order, Family…Genius, Species.


  216. DamonZ

    “Si and the family scone”

    The day started out normal enough.
    Baskets, guests, and the usual Easter stuff.
    But in the kitchen, on ole’ aunt
    Cookie’s antique plate.
    Remained one scone untouched, not ate.

    The prize of Cookie’s talent and skill
    For one last scone I think people would kill!
    They are perfect pastry art.
    Great on the palate, but hard on the heart.

    The tension was palpable as we all knew.
    That last scone always went with ado.
    Secretly we all plotted our move.
    Knowing that no one would approve.
    We wanted it for our selves.
    Curse aunt Cookie for only making twelve!

    Suddenly uncle Laggard asked for more coffee.
    Finally! An excuse for me!
    “I’ll get you a cup, I smiled”
    My sinister cover well dialed.

    A tinge of guilt rose in my heart.
    Being so deceitful and smart.
    But for rarely moving at all,
    Uncle Laggard was on the ball.
    ” bring me that last scone as well.”
    Inside my frustration began to swell.

    In disgust I tramped into the kitchen.
    I reeled in shock at the unbelievable vision.
    The scone was gone! The plate empty!
    My mind racing, my palms sweaty.
    Who took the delectable piece of art?
    I perplexed as I stirred the coffee.
    Feeling played and a little salty.

    Then by chance I saw the dog.
    Toward him I began to slog.
    Close-up I could see the proof.
    Si, the big furry goof,
    Still had raspberry filling on his face.
    Great job you fox like ace.
    For saving Easter with splendor and grace.

    By: Damon Zallar

  217. CLShaffer

    Ode to Funny Family Portraits by C. Lynn Shaffer

    Nuclear families in bunny ears,
    matching polyester, vests.
    Surly Santas, children in tears,
    girls in boas, brothers underdressed

    in camoflauge. Mouths open, eyes closed,
    hair blowing from the ocean breeze
    or strangely still in front of fake autumn trees
    and fences. Always, always a faux cozy

    fire to warm the Christmas scene,
    the best with a silver or pink tree nearby.
    Pets held in the frame looking mean,
    and the classic collage: Dad’s head floating high

    above his wife and the kids they made,
    bordered by a frosty haze.
    Say cheese, say beauty and truth, say style,
    hold the pose forever and leave us with a smile.

  218. Quaker

    It was late, lost, missed a turn somewhere.
    We found a room in a semi-circle of cabins,
    where only one other car sat outside.
    My mother picked it out as scenic,
    but it looked unkempt to me.
    The owner seemed startled, almost disheveled
    like we woke him up at 10PM
    threw on whatever was near, missing buttons,
    not even sure where he was
    or why we wanted to stay there
    of all places. I had to agree.
    It looked like a place gangsters would hide
    while on the lam. There was the snap
    of electric sign fighting its urge to stay on.
    There was grass growing through concrete
    like elusive cowlicks on my head.
    When we opened the cabin door,
    there was a strange odor of skunk, stale
    cigarettes, condoms on the floor,
    a map someone left behind covered by roaches,
    and an unflushed toilet. No one ever changed
    the sheets, had broken a window for air
    because the windows had been nailed shut.
    We took one look at the roof caving in,
    the walls with fist punches, and bats
    flying in and out of the rafters,
    and decided, perhaps, it was time to move on.

  219. Joseph Harker

    Letter to a Young Gay Poet

    Your fire gets down deep in me. I start to remember
    what it was like when I first put pen to paper
    (years of permafrost followed by the long thaw)
    when you speak of these lost moments:
    watching the other boys jog around the college track,
    gin and juice soaked through your first kiss,
    an unchained heart caving outward, too full not
    to burst. Your fire reminds me of how things seemed
    before: I also used to dream. And even though
    we are so different, I can’t help feeling fraternal,
    the one who adds fresh tinder to the flames–
    but never too much. The kin we haven’t chosen
    shrug and shake their heads to see us
    holding matches up to who we used to be. Brother,
    let me tell you, I also was alone. Let my hand
    grip your hand and lead you to that place
    where all of us are dancing in some newfound fire.
    Love changes shape. Light takes on fresh quality.
    This is your choice: to flicker out; to immolate;
    or to rake your coals and keep the verses going
    with the lightning in your voice. As long as
    I am watching, you’ll be in my keeping– and yes,
    I’ll admit a certain pride. When you speak
    words to make your masterpiece, I will be your guide.
    And brother, until you came along, I’d forgotten
    how long since I had something bright to see by.

    1. ina

      “The kin we haven’t chosen
      shrug and shake their heads to see us
      holding matches up to who we used to be. Brother,
      let me tell you, I also was alone.”


  220. jclass527


    Momma always told me to sit straight
    and never slouch, because it gives people the idea
    you were born of a weak spine and the hunch with its twisted
    spiral staircase is meant to be walked all over on like a doormat.
    So I sit like an arrow, quiver slightly, ready to release at any hint
    of trouble.
    Daddy always told me that I was conceited whenever
    I looked in a mirror, because it gives people the idea that
    your appearance holds precedence over your self esteem
    and that they should define you by that too. So whenever I see
    reflections I picture a punching bag, and decide nothing hurts
    unless I allow it to.
    Whenever tears well in my eyes now, I remember that
    Momma and Daddy think tears make me weak and
    I am a reflection of them, so I toss
    pennies into them and cross my fingers, hoping and praying
    that they land heads up.
    These warning signs are written in braille on my bones,
    and I can’t unlearn how much strength it took to code
    every etching.
    So whenever I walk into a room, stoicism ebbs off of me
    like a granite monolith, and people regard me like a museum
    painting – empathizing with the swirls of emotions but never
    touching it, because Momma and Daddy never taught me
    how to be fragile and

    -Jessenia Class

  221. Roderick Bates


    by Roderick Bates

    An only child, both parents gone,
    two divorces long behind,
    twenty years into this marriage,
    a daughter happy in her second marriage,
    a good crop of grandchildren,
    I confess my notion of family
    is not a simple one —
    too little experience of this,
    far too much of that, and that.

    I feel closer to a high school friend,
    to cousins seven states away
    whom I have not seen in forty years,
    to a few of the people at the office,
    than to many who have at one time
    or another qualified somehow as family.

    And yet, as I listen to the rancor between siblings
    whose parents are becoming a resented burden,
    as I witness the squabbles over a small inheritance,
    as remembered childhood slights foul the air
    and grudging connections fail to stand the test,
    as times of grieving become fields of battle,
    as I observe what might have been for me
    had I been gifted with brothers and sisters,

    I treasure the odd assortment of old friends,
    trusted peers, loving ex-sisters in law,
    and yes, some family, with whom I am linked
    in ways that nothing but death will break.

  222. pmwanken


    Is it best
    when leaving the nest
    to no longer be
    from the family tree?

    When you marry
    do you no longer carry
    those in your heart
    from whom you were a part?

    It can be lonely
    when it’s just me only.
    So, Brother, remember
    I’m still a family member.

    Please, give it some thought,
    as you tie the knot.

  223. ambermarie

    A Haunted House

    Take my bloody pen and write a story
    Of the love you’ve lost or never had –
    Forgetting any ink spilled along the way
    Go watch the city sounds from afar
    As you dream of rebuilding utopia
    For this battered little family
    Paint the shudders and fix up the courtyard
    What a lovely little lily pond
    But inside this hollow shell
    Sits a powerless core where meals are made
    Too hungry to resist feeding on generations of hatred,
    We starve each other to death
    But as each day begins anew, our earnest faith grows
    For it appears that something always survives…
    Even on empty longings

  224. Taylor Emily Copeland

    What Haley tells me

    You look so much like mom.
    Did you ever wonder if I
    would end up with our father’s
    chin? If I would have ended
    up with your pink dresses
    cascading around my small frame?
    If we would sit in the living
    room after trick-or-treating
    and trade candy? You, bartering
    for my Milky Way bars and me,
    wanting three rolls of Smarties
    for each one. Did you know that
    sometimes, big sisters outlive
    their little sisters? That we
    aren’t always meant to place our
    tender feet on the hard crust
    of this planet? Did you know
    that I was there – every time
    you cried over some stupid boy,
    after your heart attack, before
    they carried my bloodied shell
    away, our mother, crying and
    holding her hands to her face
    and you, confused and wondering
    why your sister’s eyes weren’t
    open, why her mouth didn’t part
    and cough or whine? Did you know
    that here, we are skipping rope,
    we are running arm in arm through
    backyard, collapsing into the grass
    and laughing until our sides hurt?
    We are playing with our dog, we are
    singing songs that we made up and
    swinging from our big maple tree,
    our heads craned to the sky.
    Nothing has ever ended, we are infinite.

    1. James Von Hendy

      Clear images. I like the flow of this poem too, the movement from one memory to another. I’d love to see the poem end with “our head craned to the sky.” To me it’s more powerful than the last line which seems to me states too obviously what the images that precede it already imply so strongly. Nice work!

  225. TomNeal

    5 February 2014

    I cannot say goodbye today my child,
    I am not prepared to see you defiled
    By earth; I cannot call it the good earth
    Anymore- seven years you were lent- berthed
    With us. You taught us the family hug,
    A simple ritual that still does tug
    At our hearts. It made us three into one
    Sacred circle; now two again my son,
    Your mother and I ache together alone,
    Strangers in pain, and in our pain strangers,
    Sharing only thoughts that are dangerous,
    And the ‘reciprocity of tears.’

    1. BDP

      So much is good about this, but I especially feel “Strangers in pain, and in our pain strangers, / Sharing only thoughts that are dangerous….”

    2. k_weber

      “You taught us the family hug” will stay with me. Such an intimate thing to have these little rituals among us and how they just aren’t the same when someone is gone.

  226. candy

    Coal Town 1900

    Solemn faces look down
    on me from hooks on
    the wall
    They’re not happy
    Life was hard
    Babies died
    Husbands and sons worked
    in mines and never saw
    Coal dust covered their lives
    Even the dog knew not
    to wag his tail

  227. Ravyne

    Sisters In Secret

    I had to look outside the family
    to find the sister I always longed for
    My own, as a teenager, was too selfish
    only interested in boys — later on
    too self-righteous to be of use

    By the time I was thirteen
    I was settling into my new sister
    She was like me, quirky in the middle
    so that as we bonded
    we became an odd pair to many

    Mother didn’t like my new sister
    called her selfish — if she only knew —
    and forbade me to see her
    That’s when I decided
    we would have to be sisters in secret

    And so we were — as the years passed
    sometimes together, many years apart
    but always that close bond
    I felt no where else — who says
    you can’t pick your family?

    Copyright 2014
    Lori Carlson

  228. Snowqueen

    Family Recipes

    The tried and true recipes
    The “go to’s” when you don’t
    Know what to make

    One whiff while cooking
    they often transport my
    Mind to days and faces long gone

    These recipes are sometimes
    Tradition, like Christmas eve
    And Christmas day casserole

    There’s comfort in knowing
    I’m turning the same pages
    Making the same things

    Creating the same sort
    Of memories to be cherished
    To be calming and connecting
    For generations to come

    Karen D.

    1. drnurit

      This truly resonates: I chose a very similar topic for today’s prompt (focusing on one recipe), and our sentiments are so similar. Yes – “they often transport my mind to days and faces long gone.” And, yes, “There’s comfort in knowing I’m turning the same pages…”

  229. writinglife16


    My sister can always make me laugh.
    With just a look or raised eyebrow.
    We were at an afternoon church service.
    It was an old church with no air conditioning.
    The fans just moved hot air.
    It was the kind of heat where
    breathing made you sweat.
    The church was packed.
    My sister had to sit in the row in front of me.
    The deacon leading the service said a prayer.
    Amazing Grace was sung.
    He said after the hymn,
    “We’ll have ‘The Creation’ by
    James Weldon Johnson.”
    He was greeted by silence.
    He looked around and said,
    “I guess he couldn’t be here.”
    My sister turned around and
    winked at me.
    My head went down.
    I started to cough.
    My sister can always make me laugh.

  230. carolemt87

    This poem is written for my sister and anyone else who loves someone with an affective disorder.

    Helpless ~ for my sister

    I find you again locked behind
    rooms of razor wire
    on the other side of
    crevassed glaciers
    fractured like broken mirrors
    and I run to the outdoor
    hybrid sportsman store
    for crampons
    climbing gear
    bolt cutters.

    Cabella’s white bright bulbs beam
    and I trace my fingers
    along shelves lined with
    The bottles disappear shimmering
    and my hand comes away empty.

    I stand at the checkout behind a troop
    of Boy Scouts buying beef jerky
    canoe paddles and life jackets
    and in my cart
    a shortened rope
    crampons two sizes too small
    and a long handled pair
    of rusty bolt cutters.

    Carol J Carpenter

  231. bxpoetlover

    My Someday

    One of my favorite things to do as a child
    was go South to see favorite uncles, aunts, cousins.
    Sometimes entire Sundays were consumed by church.

    Soaked up wisdom. Gorged on salmon croquettes,
    salt pork, homemade lemonade and iced tea.
    Laughed incessantly at Aunt Caroline’s
    tale about Daddy getting his hand caught in her
    old-fashioned washing machine
    or the time
    he went cotton picking and lasted just one day
    in the North Carolina sun.

    Now as a grown woman I have a laptop full of notes
    about this cousin or that who walked away forever,
    an uncle who was shot to death because he refused
    to surrender his mistress, and a cursing out of an older cousin
    (who called two days before Daddy died to ask if I was ready)
    that I will never show to anyone.

    Even though they bicker, contradict, cry,
    and laugh inappropriately at times, I hope that
    there will be enough similes and metaphors
    in the dozens of poems I’ve written over the last five years.
    May they all come together this summer
    for my next book. Like family

  232. lina

    Letting Go

    It is tenuous at best–
    claim of ownership by
    tilt of chin,
    curve of fingernails,
    and toes.
    Do you belong to me,
    based on
    amber eyes,
    sweet tooth,
    and love of
    and rhyme?
    Or are you allowed to drift
    into the wild blue sea,
    oars locked,
    bow turned from shore,
    and not
    take me?
    How is it possible
    for you
    to be so free?

  233. grcran


    Wasn’t in a family, didn’t have a home
    dad and mom too opposite, couldn’t get it done
    Susan wife in middle life pulled us all together
    All that work and no one helped, gave it up at last
    Then she died, the end of us, we struck out on our own

    Family seems far away, a distant space and time
    Now I am the eldest, won some wisdom too
    No one wants to learn from me, trash me as they go
    So I write this poem, nothing special here
    Leastways helps me count the beats, heartened by and by
    Have some little hoping, granddaughter was born
    Find the eggs and candy on a lonely Easter morn

    By gpr crane

  234. aphotic soul

    Overlooking the Ocean Shore
    by Paul Andrew Ryan

    As the raven watches the ocean roars,
    Splishing and splashing, my spirit soars,
    The fresh wind’s breeze, the cold air’s freeze,
    This is what my heart so drastically needs,
    Sights I so rarely see, a world that I need my life to be,
    The wind bent trees, sights that unimaginably please,
    Even Poe’s raven is out to enjoy,
    A statement that brings me joy,
    For it is true to mention, it’s truly no ploy,
    The untouched sands, of a gently blissful land,
    With my brothers growing tanned, all three of us considered damned,
    A condemnation that should be banned,
    Religion is just a plague on this oh so peaceful land,
    Our bliss is our current blend,
    Mixing liquor with the beauty the land lends,
    And as my birded friend overlooks the ocean sky,
    It’s a reminder that no one should be afraid to die,
    For if you don’t make the most, of the beautiful things for which I boast,
    And for which my brothers and I, toast,
    You put to waste the gentle ocean coast,
    Although this is all just a memory now that’s gone too fast,
    Now in this poem that memory shall last,
    More than I could ever ask, and as that gentle breeze washes over me,
    I can almost smell the salt filled sea,
    A mental paradise with the drinks always on ice,
    For now I’ll let that memory entice, for it is more than just simply suffice,
    The most important thing is to enjoy life while you can,
    With brothers or a friend, for they are memories that will flash by in the end,
    And they will be a peaceful mend, to this life that we have on lend.

  235. Espen Stenersrod

    Day 20

    Shadows on the Wall

    Outlines of a real life event
    Alive right in front of you
    No expression
    Hiding inside the other wall of reality
    The creator of curiosity
    The creator of fear
    Based on that we can not see
    What is truly there

    Remember that shadows are driven by the light, not the darkness

    Shadows are the ruler of the night

  236. Lori DeSanti

    For My Twin Sister, Lisa

    Born in Two

    You are an element of me;
    you were born fire, I was
    born sky, and in the womb

    we had already learned to
    breathe water. I grew to
    know the safety of your

    palms before our eyes ever
    opened; you mastered the
    art of sleep and I held you

    at all hours of the night, us
    curled into each other like
    coy fish. You still hum in

    your sleep like you always
    did against our mother’s rib-
    cage; and now, it is only in

    the night when I hear you
    breathe fire in your sleep,
    that I know that I am home.

  237. taylor graham


    When I was young, bandaid-on-knees,
    she was a red rose in the hedge.

    After years, she stopped buying
    anything new. She wore the same prints

    till they were scraps of themselves,
    then sewed in a crazy quilt batted

    with fabric as thin as memory.
    She grew more and more threadbare

    a length of yarn in the wind,
    hoisted her quilt and sailed away.

  238. Gwyvian

    The mother tongue

    My blood speaks to your blood,
    our hearts are mirrors of soul-substance,
    my pulse thrums at your sufferance, because
    you speak my mother tongue;
    there is age to the oases where we rest,
    but the spring waters are eternally fresh—
    I take water you offer, the flow circling
    and spiraling clockwise returning: my water
    is yours, I but a seed of your fruit, and
    your fruit of a blossom on my branch;
    we are interlinked in ethereal continuity,
    our bodies separate entities, yet
    you can read my mind as I can yours, because
    I speak your mother tongue;
    we are parallels that never meet, but always
    turning in perfect unison – we are companions
    swimming in primordial synthesis—
    there is no beginning and ending
    from you to me, where an eon is a twinkle
    in your eyes locked with mine, and an age
    passes with a word I whisper, because
    we speak the mother tongue, the voice
    of nothingness and everyone, only complete
    with both vibrating in synergy;
    my blood echoes your blood, we are
    brothers, we are sisters, our minds are linked,
    our hearts are twins, the rhythm dictated
    by the pulse of existence around us:
    I am daughter to the Moon as you are the son
    of the Sun, but our meeting point is this place
    where we both speak in unison,
    in our mother tongue…

    April 20, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  239. barbara_y

    When I’m stalled for people, I crack open the invented Garewelder family


    No business being here, the red-head Helen whore.
    I call her Trojan widow, dragged in and to the parlor.
    Nothing of her doing. Like she was stolen, conjured
    out of her hell and across our bridge. She makes
    me ache to howl. Twice, I would have flown off the couch,
    teeth bare, to sink and shake the scentless demon bones.
    Our brother left this mess the cats cringe from. The rocking
    chair, the walls themselves sway sharp away. No one
    else can see she turned his limbs to blood and bits,
    that was spring water, and now stirs his brothers
    and his father, like hard liquor with a spoon. Why,
    then, should I not call open war on her? Undress,
    strip off the face and skin of peace, wash myself holy,
    teach the whore what families are made to do.

  240. anneemcwilliams

    Archeology in Appalachia

    enough toilet paper
    to last two years
    two twelve by twelve shelves
    crammed with wash clothes
    and bars of soap, a tower of cottage
    cheese containers that reach
    the ceiling, canning jars, patched linens,
    arrowheads, fishing tackle. recipes
    penciled on fuel oil receipts.

    a cooking hearth and vessels older
    than they were, homes handed down
    through the centuries by early
    immigrants. evidence of how
    they scraped and sifted through
    home and field: a lock of baby
    hair as precious as a flake
    of quartz.

    excavating the grandmother’s
    homes. every layer disrupted
    and scattered. it’s not what
    we found, but what we
    found out

    first draft 04/20/14

    1. anneemcwilliams

      Archeology in Appalachia

      enough toilet paper
      to last two years
      two twelve by twelve shelves
      crammed with wash clothes
      and bars of soap, a tower of cottage
      cheese containers that reach
      the ceiling, canning jars, patched linens,
      arrowheads, fishing tackle. recipes
      penciled on fuel oil receipts.

      a cooking hearth and vessels older
      than they were, property handed down
      through the centuries by early
      immigrants. evidence of how
      they scraped and sifted through
      home and field: a lock of baby
      hair as precious as a flake
      of quartz.

      excavating the grandmother’s
      homes. every layer disrupted
      and scattered. it’s not what
      we found, but what we
      found out

      second draft 04/20/14

  241. Margot Suydam

    If Only I Could Say

    These long slender fingers
    nails bitten to the quick
    the thumb I sucked until

    I was much too old to
    so they trained me to quit
    now deftly manipulate metal.

    They form, file, finesse fixtures
    that naked models flaunt in
    photographs: bulbous flowers

    or feral figures on link chains,
    silver delicacies worn by angels
    wrought from hard-won skill.

    These same confident hands
    can balance a martini glass
    while circulating through rooms

    of strangers, chatting about little
    secrets and tall tales forgotten once
    family comes knocking at the door.

  242. Margot Suydam

    If Only I Could Say

    I waa much too old to
    so they trained me to quit
    now deftly manipulate metal.

    They form, file, finesse fixtures
    that naked models flaunt in
    photographs: bulbous flowers

    or feral figures on link chains,
    silver delicacies worn by angels
    wrought from hard-won skill.

    These same confident hands
    can balance a martini glass
    while circulating through rooms

    of strangers, chatting about little
    secrets and tall tales forgotten once
    family comes knocking at the door.

  243. mzanemcclellan

    Fragmented Family

    Scattered across distance and time.
    Links broken by a fragile trust.
    Telling yourself that you love them
    because society says you must.
    Not a one did anything wrong,
    dysfunction was just done so right.
    This one doesn’t talk to that one,
    that one you love, but you don’t like.
    Born into this dire crucible
    to parents who both are a mess.
    Choosing to love them from afar,
    because close is just too much stress.

  244. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Animal Family

    Ant colony,
    Bee’s nest,
    Butterfly flutter,

    Flock of ducks,
    Gaggle of geese,
    Peacock pride,

    Kindle of kittens,
    Lion pride,
    Pack of wolves,

    Team of horses,
    Yoke of oxen,
    Herd of buffalo,

    School of fish,
    Dolphin pod,
    Alligator congregation,

    Camel caravan,
    Elephant society,
    Giraffes tower.

  245. Hannah

    Unending Sea of Sky and Blue

    Unending sea of sky and blue
    somewhere on earth’s very center
    span of sky and sea meet in a thin line
    forever separate ever together always distinct,
    a circumference that bounds on long and arching
    circling round to surround in a pinstripe of sapphire.
    Fire of day star rises on the horizon, too bright to look at,
    an orange rosy glow breaches the surface of salt and water;
    in the stillness of morn a new mirror of the atmosphere is born,
    ocean and air hold likeness – a fresh image in this early rising time.
    It is then that one can truly see they’re birthed from the same lineage.
    Ocean and air hold likeness – a fresh image in this early rising time,
    in the stillness of morn a new mirror of the atmosphere is born.
    An orange rosy glow breaches the surface of salt and water,
    fire of day star rises on the horizon, too bright to look at.
    Circling round to surround in a pinstripe of sapphire
    a circumference that bounds on long and arching
    forever separate ever together always distinct,
    span of sky and sea meet in a thin line
    somewhere on earth’s very center,
    unending sea of sky and blue.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  246. dianemdavis


    When morning chores are done
    Alicia and I
    slip out to the barn
    and bolt the door to
    our secret place,
    a thousand miles
    away from home
    but still close by
    in case Mama calls.

    Sometimes, we pretend
    to sip tea
    like the ladies in town
    who claim
    they’ve dined in Boston,
    holding our pinky fingers
    out so the tea won’t
    soil our gloves
    and talking through our noses
    as if that makes us more important.

    Other times
    we instruct our classroom
    of roosters and hens
    until they misbehave–
    then we sail away
    on seed bag ships
    for uncharted islands
    and two-headed monsters.

    But today
    when the hay
    is piled so high
    it towers over Alicia’s head
    like waves against
    New Hampshire shores
    in late November,
    we climb to the loft–
    and holding tight to a rope,
    double knotted on the rafter,
    swing out
    tumbling, turning
    soaring, stumbling
    down to the bottom of the bin–

    ragged and rowdy
    we crawl out
    ready to begin

  247. SeekingSoltitude

    Our hearts beat as one

    My grandma sits on the thin mattress
    on the far end of this decrepit house,
    My grandfather sits on the rocking chair
    his wrinkles more prominent now,
    My mother and father are having a tête-à-tête
    at the pale ghastly sofa,
    She is crying and he is consoling
    yet the solace is as empty as our hearts,
    Indigent and jobless,
    We were forced to move out of our decent home
    and into this shack of superfluous filth,
    My brother plays with a single wooden car
    rest all sold to keep ourselves from starving,
    And I sit on the floor
    that is going to be my bed for now,
    A cough rattles through my sister’s throat
    Her bed-ridden figure yearns to move,
    We sit in silence with my mum’s occasional sob
    thinking the only thing that is certain for us,
    that may it be death or life that separates us now
    Our hearts will beat for each other
    Our hearts will beat as one,.

  248. drwasy

    On Being a Mother to Those Born to Me

    They say blood
    is thicker than water
    but I’m not so sure—
    how can family
    to which you are born
    mean more than the one
    you choose?
    Yet now, when
    fear crosses your face
    or anger, or even
    the slump
    of melancholy
    no thing and no one
    makes me
    fiercer in my need
    to keep you whole.

  249. Kimmy Sophia

    My Family

    We know the foibles
    soft spots.
    We know the nobility,
    and sweetness.
    We know each other’s eyes
    and voices.
    Sometimes the rage is sickening,
    sometimes the love so tender.
    We howl in this den,
    snuggle and sleep,
    snore and snarl,
    we tumble like pups.

  250. bookworm0341

    “Family” (a Haiku)

    Resurrection day
    Gather around the table
    Love flows from our hearts

    By Jennifer M. Terry
    April 21, 2014

    (Happy Easter everyone!)

  251. lionetravail

    “The Royal Family”
    by David M. Hoenig

    The king’s a strong but lazy son of bitch,
    while queens have all the work of court to do.
    He’s crude, and in public, will scratch an itch,
    living for moment, waiting for the coup.
    He’ll watch princes and princesses with eyes
    that could be indulgent, but are just not.
    You can tell he eats well: look at his size!
    He’s king of all he sees, until despot
    of other color overthrows his realm.
    It will happen, someday, but not today-
    Machiavelli predicts overwhelm-
    so little royals live another day.
    They gather for a meal brought by his bride,
    knowing that in family they’ve got pride.

  252. kelly letky

    false idols (sanctuary)

    beliefs and baubles rain down
    from a sky filled with numbers

    and i have no cloak to offer

    the skin i wear is my reality
    broken hands and banged up knees

    my gift is the soil scraped from nails

    rich with worm and cross-hatched root
    held down by your wing driven sky

    nothing is wrong in the forest of calm

    and i climb into the cave of bear
    embrace the bones you’ve buried there

    each icon wrapped in fields of feather

    loose layers of tender revealed by touch
    reflect the season of my eyes

    as spring awaits the hunger of your cry

    ~Kelly Letky

    (a less-than-obvious theme of family, written for my husband)

    1. PressOn

      This is marvelous; for me, it blends humble (in teh sense of being of teh earth) and mystical, and the phrase, “loose layers of tender revealed by touch,” is vivid and memorable.

  253. drnurit


    By: Dr. Nurit Israeli

    The aroma of borscht sends me back in time…
    Food was my mother’s province.
    She loved to feed us, and my memories of her
    still live on in the soothing and rich flavors
    of her sour-sweet savory borscht.

    “Soups are very forgiving,” my mother used to say.
    “No two batches of soup come out quite the same.
    Make your own version. Improvise.
    Add a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
    Stir. Keep on tasting. Let it simmer, and there you are… “
    Hers was a Polish version, adapted to our tastes.
    The main ingredient was cabbage rather than beets.
    With added onions and carrots, peppers and potatoes,
    stewed tomatoes, and lots of chopped dill.

    In later years, when my mother came to visit,
    I would make “her soup” for her.
    Nothing would please her more.
    The first time I made this soup without her –
    a few days after she died – I felt her presence.
    Now, when I miss her greatly – I go back to the kitchen.
    Making soup is my way of going home again.
    When I make Polish borscht, I am my mother’s daughter.

    When my father was already gone
    and my mother was elderly and frail,
    I took my family to Poland – to honor my parents
    by visiting the landscapes of their youth.
    We ate Borscht every single day. In every city.
    Lunch and dinner (sometimes breakfast too) –
    hearty Borscht with potato-filled pierogi…

    Though I am not particularly proud of my cooking,
    I am surprised – time and again – by how good it feels
    when my family and friends love my Polish borscht.
    When even my very young grandsons request “the red soup.”
    When my daughter serves it. When my children take home
    soup-filled containers (I always make large amounts, just in case…)
    It was heartwarming to be told by my granddaughter recently
    that borscht is her favorite soup. It was gratifying to have her
    come over, just before she left for college, to cook borscht with me –
    so she can learn the recipe.

    An evolving family version of earthy Polish borscht.
    The soup that I ate as a child, and that my parents ate before me.
    The soup that has been prepared similarly across 3 continents.
    The soup that my children learned to love,
    and that my grandchildren now ask for.
    A bloodline flavored with ruby-colored soups.
    Soups filled with memories.
    Steaming bowls of simple comfort food,
    transported through time –
    carrying tradition and love…

    1. Phil Boiarski

      This memory is right on the money. Memories of food, holiday meals, family feasts and celebratory occasions, where favorite meals tie experiences together, have a basis in science. The sating of hunger can create strong associations with odor, color and flavor and those elements make a recipe for remembering. I have an anthologized poem called “Blood Soup,” about Polish czarnina. Thanks for sharing, it stirred my own memory.

      1. drnurit

        Thank you very much, Phil, for reading, for commenting, and for relating. I love your “favorite meals tie experiences together,” because there is so much that unties… I also love “make a recipe for remembering,” because we all too often make recipes for forgetting… I would love to taste your “Blood Soup” – please tell me how to get there…

          1. drnurit

            I truly appreciate your taking the time to share! I went there and read. Thanks! By the way, my favorite Polish poet is Wisława Szymborska. She writes so beautifully – I am under her spell…

      1. drnurit

        Thanks so much, TomNeal, for responding to the aromas of this soup, and for your “kitchen/cooking smells seal the time in our memory” – for me to hold on too (just thought I could write my own narrative as a series of critical events sealed in my memory through smells…)

  254. Sasha A. Palmer

    Hi everyone. Happy Easter Sunday.
    Another haiku added to my never-ending story. Twenty prompts, twenty haiku.

    beyond the welkin
    a sleepy angel awakes
    off to work wings brushed

    the commute is quick
    one giant leap for mankind
    for angel one step

    the task is simple
    persuade men to be happy
    that’s what angels do

    since the creation
    happiness has been men’s foe
    men prefer ruin

    men long for passion
    harmony unsettles them
    men would rather burn

    men inhale cities
    drink beneath the rural moon
    on the airplane wings

    ever amateur
    created in God’s image
    hopelessly human

    torment their lovers
    dance themselves to destruction
    ever lonely men

    finding no refuge
    men cry when they see the Pope
    vagabond pilgrims

    empires rise and fall
    look back foresee the future
    humans do not change

    men bend their beliefs
    divide sex and sentiment
    still believe in love

    strolls through central park
    wild quarrels starting over
    beautiful and damned

    men battle their beasts
    walk along the precipice
    all the sad young men

    if i were God i
    dancers and storytellers
    always reasoning

    love is all there is
    still men crave bitter in sweet
    never satisfied

    men beat on borne back
    ceaselessly into the past
    silent tombstones speak

    lost generation
    paradigmatic writings
    jazz age any age

    winter dreams wear off
    the prickly dust of late spring
    freshness of lilacs

    pink floating dresses
    pink babies in pink bonnets
    it all starts anew

    a tight fellowship
    flappers and philosophers
    a curious case

  255. Phil Boiarski

    The Family

    My sister hid, my brother ran,
    my mother cried and begged him
    to stop, but when my father
    had his reasons, he got
    his severed razor strop.

    Sometimes, he caught me
    before I got out and locked
    the car but other times.
    I didn’t get that far.

    Or he had the keys
    and dragged me out
    and beat me in the yard.
    He hit me hard,

    But if you time it right,
    you roll and twist and
    the tails of leather
    won’t completely bite.

    Other times, when he went
    back in, to get his keys,
    I ran for the woods. All the trees
    told me they would shelter me

    in the fort I built from fallen
    boughs where I would hide.
    This worked, except in
    winter, or if it was raining.

    Those times, I had to go
    to the basement and take it
    like a man, though I tried
    every trick I’d learned,

    crying like a baby,
    rolling and taking the blows
    with my arms and legs,
    spinning away and behind
    the metals poles
    that held up the joists.

    Above us, my family,
    secretly relieved to be
    spared, cowered
    and cried, and denied.

  256. flood

    Skittish And Sugar High

    When you are a mother,
    and you have two boys who
    knock down walls when they are
    skittish and sugar high
    (the hell with bouncing off of them,
    they said), you have to find
    alternatives for Easter morning.
    You have to keep the walls standing.
    You are single and cannot afford to
    replace them every spring.
    So you buy them baseball cards.
    You have seen their faces
    disappear behind cardboard shields for hours.
    You hear them talking to each other, conspiring,
    building a foundation for warm weather plans
    for the next four decades.
    You know that this is as safe as
    any Easter basket can be, if
    you can get them to agree to
    give you the gum from each pack.

  257. Cin5456

    Goodbye, Sam

    I called you my twin
    born three years later
    We were so close we
    completed each other’s
    You knew me as no other
    ever will
    You were the best part
    of me
    Ten years ago this May
    you passed beyond
    completion and went
    to your grave
    without warning
    without goodbye
    without me
    I miss you brother
    I am half alive
    without you

    Cynthia Page

  258. SeekingSoltitude

    Our family of two

    Its cold and unbearable
    as we sit on the snow-laden side-walk
    Her cheeks are blue, so are her lips
    as she quivers next to me
    We should be relieved that,
    we both escaped the clutches of death,
    yet seeing our family die in the explosion
    takes away all the warmth
    and replaces itself with fear and despair
    The world of living is so close to the dead’s
    that the line passes beneath us
    waiting for us to fall and get absorbed by
    its impending darkness
    Its been three nights, but it feels like thirty
    homeless and starving, now we sit
    Maybe its time to go?
    Just then, her hand slips into mine
    and she gives me a look
    only I understand
    We are each other’s family now
    We are our only family now

  259. Cin5456

    Me and Thee – We are Family

    Between myself and family is distance.
    Self / Distance / Family
    See how I did that?

    Between: The interval that separates
    two things (i.e. by distance, time, etc.)

    Distance: The extent or amount of space
    between two things. (Dictionary.com.)

    Let’s break this down into its components.

    Components of the etc. interval:
    Twenty six hours
    Four-point-five tanks of gasoline
    Four meals
    Six hours of sleep in the back seat
    My reluctance

    Complicating the etc. interval:
    Expectations vs reality
    Our last conversation

    Conclusion: Don’t go

    Cynthia Page

  260. PressOn


    Thanks for your comment that forms, oddly enough, seem to free you up a bit. I’ve enjoyed using forms for years now, partly for the challenge and partly because they unleash creativity, sometimes anyway. For me, their rules impel new ways of thinking. In your case the “freeing up” may be in a different way than mine, but it felt good to get at least a partial confirmation from one so accomplished as you.

  261. donaldillich

    for my Dad

    The zoo had defeated us.
    Mom had been unable to snap
    pictures of her favorite polar bears,
    a sign closing the exhibit.
    Zoo staff yelled at my Dad
    for inappropriately remarking
    on the acts the monkeys
    were performing for themselves.
    My brother R. ran after some
    peacocks, knocked over a little boy
    who chased him back to us.
    And I didn’t get to eat
    the tastiest hot dogs in the world,
    as the snack shop had run out,
    sticking me with a fish sandwich.
    In the car, the heat overcame us.
    We wilted, our heads drooping,
    our bodies feeling almost broken.
    All of us would’ve killed one another,
    if it had brought some kind of relief.
    I started to doze, cartoon murder
    in my dreams, when I heard something.
    “Wimoweh, wimoweh,
    wimoweh, wimoweh.”
    I opened my eyes and it was my Dad.
    He looked back at me and smiled.
    “Near the village, the peaceful village “
    Was he going to add this?
    This was completely ridiculous.
    Then I heard R. start his part.
    “In the jungle, the mighty jungle.”
    Then my Mom, “ Hush my darling,
    don’t cry my darling.”
    Then I realized everyone
    was smiling, everyone not dead,
    the road ahead better than the one
    we had ridden in the past.
    I had to shout, I had to keep this going —
    “The lion sleeps tonight!”
    as waves of “wimoweh”
    crashed over me, the whole car,
    inside, outside, and everywhere,
    and we didn’t run on gasoline,
    we ran on waves, waves, waves.

  262. courageousdreamer

    The Life of a Spartan

    Boys must be strong,
    They must be fast and fearsome,
    Cunning and warriors of high class.
    Wielding their shields, cutting down the enemy,
    Without mercy;
    Loyalty to Sparta,
    Is ingrained in their brutal childhood training.

    To be brave, to have no pain,
    No weakness,
    For men and women,
    To gain glory for their Spartan family name,
    That is their duty,
    Their greatest achievement,
    For which they can only attain in battle.

    “For Sparta, for glory, for victory,”
    The family motto is cried.
    Fathers filled with pride,
    Such is the life of a Spartan.

      1. courageousdreamer

        Indeed. The life of a Spartan was a tough one. They were taught to win by any means (i.e. lying and stealing) and from the age of seven most spartan children had to sleep on a bed of thistles all year round in order to make them tough. One festival including the Roman Goddess Artemis included boys being whipped at the alter of Artemis until they dropped. It was supposed to be a sad reality of the Spartan life. Thanks so much for reading it! :)

  263. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    This poem I wrote a bit ago, but have never shared, so I am sharing it here today.

    I AM

    I am the creation of love found on a cold December
    I am daughter of genius married to dysfunction
    I am a tenacious survivor
    I am mother to daughters who dare
    I am Nanilin to precious spirits sent to cherish the world
    I am beloved to my beloved
    I am friend, sister, aunt, niece and cousin
    I am part of all that is and ever will be
    I am teacher – flinging wide doors of possibility
    I am minister to hearts and souls crying out for love
    I am the gentle touch of healing hands
    I am peace when the storms of life whirl around us
    I am creator of words woven in time

  264. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Kith and Kin

    We stand in a circle, women thrown together
    by the whirlwind of political storms that whips
    across the planet, pulling us from familiar to unknown.

    We stand in a circle, some wrapped in scarves,
    some holding babes still suckling life’s nectar,
    some with eyes that hold past dreams, past stories.

    We stand in a circle, looking from one to the other,
    knowing without need of scientific evidence or confirmation
    WE are sisters. WE are family. Our circle is unbroken.

  265. Gwyvian


    She is golden memory folded in time,
    her rhapsody a page of scribbled lines that live
    only in the deepest places now that she’s gone—
    but she does live on… I hear her in our laughter, and
    see her especially just at the periphery of sight: when
    I look in the mirror and flash a smile; because
    when I look to hard, I never look quite alive, instead
    I seem like a stranger with too much memory—
    there should be nothing new, not with a single soul,
    to see behind my own sea blue: but there is always lurking
    a hint of coming home to find her – I know she lives there;
    like in the deck of cards when I hold the winning hand,
    when the world just keeps crashing and I just
    have a good laugh in her name; but there is also
    a golden-violet damask that threads even deeper, there
    is inexplicable memory haunting me like a vague dream,
    small cubes from the matrix of existence where
    I seem to lose myself down the ways of obsidian dreams
    that whisper to me a legacy I feel a seed of tremble within;
    in my heart and in an echo that lives outside of time,
    I watch Vesuvius boil with the ire of Vulcan frothing forth—
    blood of our ancient mother’s heart flowing, I feel its heat,
    and I sense the ash of ancestry, just around the corner and
    hidden by a Venetian mask; I walk these streets and
    I know them: the blood of my ancestors has a claim on me,
    an older, more potent spell that enchants my heart; there is
    no explanation for what I feel, except that pondering family,
    I feel the power of a long lineage – it matters little
    what they wielded and wove in life, their roots are nurturing
    because they go so deep as to touch hidden streams ‘neath
    the skin of the mother of all, where the heartblood of
    the mountains roil; this is silken recognition of a place
    I have inside humanity, with the legacy of my ancestry…
    just by being born with a lineage that sings in a dusky velvet
    of a fold of time: the lineage to which I am progeny.

    April 20, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  266. Emma Hine


    The human race is a delicate entity.
    Compassion abounds, yet some lack empathy.
    Half of a soul is fashioned at source
    But fifty percent shows effect from cause.

    In every life there’s potential to learn.
    These lessons, if wrong, can cause souls to burn.
    Responsibility lies with those who are nearest
    For ensuring hearts strong enough to withstand life’s test.

    From when we are born, we have family,
    We look to them first to teach us how to be.
    Mothers, fathers, grandparents too –
    Children hear what they say and they see what they do.

    We are all born in company, though this may not remain.
    When life turns black, we may look to place blame.
    Family ties bind through life right to death,
    Even for those alone at their last breath.

    Remember, when stems sway and snap in life’s wind,
    There’s always the roots on which life was pinned.
    The seeds of life’s fruit are buried deep down.
    Come what may, with good digging, they can be found.

    Young heart so fragile, you need nurturing well.
    In death there are two paths: heaven or hell.
    Your upbringing will your choices create.
    Your adult decisions determine this fate.

    Throughout your life folk will arrive and depart.
    Securing a bond is a delicate art.
    Friendships are formed on understanding and trust.
    If you neglect them they can turn to rust.

    Be mindful of souls that drift through your life.
    And if you and they become husband and wife,
    Their roots may be embedded in different soil.
    Love without judgement and try not to embroil.

    And when it is time to start a family of your own
    Remember those very first seeds must be sown.
    People are precious, tend to them well.
    Give them the chance to choose heaven not hell.

    When all’s said and done, blood is thicker than water.
    Every woman is somebody’s daughter,
    Every man is somebody’s son.
    There are certain bonds that should never be undone.

  267. Jezzie


    A family of long-tailed tits have come to visit me,
    they’ve been here all day, in and out the Eucalyptus tree.
    They’re eating all the old nuts and fat balls that I’ve put out
    I’ve not seen them here before, so I guess without a doubt
    they like what I’ve provided more than the usual seeds
    that all the birds sort through and drop down to grow into weeds!

    Mr Blackbird, who’s long been a regular resident
    is pecking at the coconut: that was money well spent.
    And Percy Pigeon still waddles all about down below
    picking up the seeds, I hope, before they begin to grow.
    There’s lots of diff’rent little birds scrabbling in the gravel
    if next door’s cat sees them there, they’ll have to quickly travel!

    Robin’s still here strutting around, singing his lovely song,
    Blue tits and finches come as well, but don’t stay very long.
    There’s so much going on outside it’s hard to concentrate
    on what I have to do today, and it could make me late.
    But that’s what makes my life so good, watching the birds come by,
    I think of them as family, these visitors from the sky.