2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 9

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) If (blank),” replace the blanks with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “Run If You’re Being Chased,” “Animals Are Cute If They’re Not Mine,” “I Am Ready To Eat If There’s Food Around,” and “Poem If You Need To.”


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Here’s my attempt at a Blank If Blank Poem:

“Don’t Mind If I Do”

Don’t mind if I do
sit alone with you

beneath this full moon
at the end of June

thinking of the spring
and a summer fling

but it won’t last all
the way until fall.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He apologizes for the late prompt this morning. Sometimes the poems come fast; sometimes they don’t.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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303 thoughts on “2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 9

  1. Angie5804

    If black, then blue
    Sometimes it’s true
    Such is the case with bruises
    Some are yellow
    Some are green
    There are some bruises never seen

    If time heals wounds, then why do I
    Sit around the house and cry
    Pick up your heart and dust it off
    I hear them say
    I hear them scoff
    There are some bruises never seen
    Places most have never been

    1. ingridbruck

      Conscious Objection

      Retaliate if attacked
      or run away if peaceable

      Slap back if hostile
      or turn the other cheek if docile

      An eye for an eye if vindictive
      charity if forgiveness

      Dissatisfaction if malcontent
      acceptance if gratitude

      1. ingridbruck

        Facial If
        Laugh if happy
        Grin if sappy

        Frown if sad
        Grimace if mad

        Scowl if confused
        Gaze if tranquil

        Twisted if pain
        Blank if asleep

        Hee-haw if corny
        Smile if content

        Scrunched if horrific
        Glowing if beatific

        Sparkle if passionate
        Implode if self destructive

        1. ingridbruck

          Professional If

          Prevaricate if lawyer
          Pontificate if politician

          Equivocate if clergy
          Dissimulate if psychiatrist

          Recidivate if gambler
          Prognosticate if weatherman 

          Calibrate if cook
          Articulate if poet

          Masticate if hungry
          Fornicate if horny

          There always more room 
          if it’s dessert

    2. ingridbruck

      blank if blank
      Day nine

      springs warm hope seeps inside 
      warming the heart from winters hibernation
      energizing the life force
      as sap flows from the roots

      we long for summers warmth

      Summer’s heat
      stabs at tender skin
      coated with sweat
      we seek shade
      complaining about the heat over a cold beer

      we wish it was cooler

      Fall paints a beautiful picture
      every color shouts its name
      a symphony of color
      hanging on tree limbs
      balancing on top of flower stems

      we want it to last forever

      Winter erases the riot of color
      stripping trees, burying flowers
      turning the world white
      reflecting cold light
      we sit closer to the fire
      longing for spring. ©

      Michael Peck

    3. ingridbruck

      Michael Peck

      blank if blank
      Day nine

      springs warm hope seeps inside 
      warming the heart from winters hibernation
      energizing the life force
      as sap flows from the roots

      we long for summers warmth

      Summer’s heat
      stabs at tender skin
      coated with sweat
      we seek shade
      complaining about the heat over a cold beer

      we wish it was cooler

      Fall paints a beautiful picture
      every color shouts its name
      a symphony of color
      hanging on tree limbs
      balancing on top of flower stems

      we want it to last forever

      Winter erases the riot of color
      stripping trees, burying flowers
      turning the world white
      reflecting cold light
      we sit closer to the fire
      longing for spring. ©

  2. bmorrison9

    Comfort If You’re Lost

    Take what you’re given,
    that’s what I think.
    Make it be
    Lost in the hollows,
    surrounded by mountains’
    dark bulk, follow
    the cold brook
    tumbling over stones,
    water clear as glass
    over the bones
    of the earth.
    This is what matters.

  3. Erbiage

    Damned if you don’t
    Blessed if you do
    (So get up and go)
    The Path to nowhere is every path untaken
    All roads lead not, if they are not followed.
    (untrodden trails vanish)
    The world is not here for you to avoid
    There will be plenty void when you’re done
    So watch, learn, have fun

  4. Brandi Noelle

    Dance If the Mood Strikes You

    Dance if the mood strikes you
    Chaîne turns across the floor
    Feel the breeze brush by
    As you extend your legs
    A grand jeté will let you soar

    Dance if the music moves you
    Twirl about in double pirouette
    The melody lifts you in coupé jeté
    Fouetté! Fouetté! Fouetté!
    A graceful révérence to finish the set

  5. Bruce Niedt

    If Only, If Only

    If only, if only,
    I’d checked lust at the gate,
    and not done that to girls,
    but now it’s too late.

    If only, if only,
    I hadn’t been lewd,
    and exposed myself to them,
    but now I am screwed.

    If only, if only,
    I’d not mixed those drinks,
    had my way while they slept,
    I’d be better, methinks.

    If only, if only,
    I’d not messed with those boys,
    I’d still have a career –
    indiscretion destroys.

    If only, if only,
    I’d not abused power
    as a means to harassment –
    now my outlook is dour.

    If only, if only –
    but my plight can’t compare
    to the turmoil I’ve caused them
    and their courage to share.

  6. LCaramanna

    I would be rich if I would count my blessings.

    I would be energetic if nightmares had not thieved my sleep.
    I would be vibrant if dreary had not hostaged my mind.
    I would be charismatic if apathy had not plundered my soul.
    I would be peaceful if turbulence had not agitated my world.
    I would be affectionate if love had not abandoned my heart.
    I would be reborn if faith had not forsaken me.
    I would be rich if I would count my blessings.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  7. Shennon

    Please nod if you can hear me
    Break that catatonic trance
    Remember kissing sunshine
    tasting raindrops
    Embracing the sweet urge to dance.

    Please fight if you want to live
    Light a fire to stir your soul
    Join me on grassy hillsides
    a reckless race
    Where we abandon self control.

    Please blink if you want freedom
    I’ll drag myself through the door
    Slinking to the ocean
    scrubbing salt mixed
    with brine, from my eyes, at the shore.


  8. cobanionsmith

    Just shoot me if I’m bitten.

    In the head, of course,
    but that goes
    without saying.

    Let’s get this straight
    right now because
    who knows what
    we’ll say or do
    at the time?

    That’s what true love is
    at the end of the day:
    decisions and grit.
    Save me,
    but if you can’t,
    don’t let me
    take you down
    with me.

    And I’ll do
    the same
    for you.

    Courtney O’Banion Smith

  9. Melanie

    Ask For Directions If You Are Lost
    I have no built-in Satnav
    nothing that warns me of
    turns in the road ahead
    no informed voice to tell me
    which exit on the roundabout
    I need to take
    I’m not even sure if
    I’m on the right road
    my own sense of direction
    appears to be broken
    so much advice out there
    sounding confident
    she went this way and
    he followed this path
    and they seem happy enough
    “follow me”
    someone speaks with authority
    he’s travelled the route
    and knows the road
    every turn on the path
    and where the bandits hide
    he chooses to travel beside me
    I was lost
    I am found

  10. destinywilliams

    Go if you’re gonna go
    I don’t need you
    I don’t need a boy
    I don’t need a toy
    I don’t need drama
    I have my own
    I don’t need your problems
    I don’t need your stones

    Get out of my life
    and don’t come back
    but baby remember I’ll
    always be that Jack.

  11. rmpWritings

    Arms Wide Open
    by rmp

    Happiness is within reach if only I would accept it.

    and the flowers smile every morning
    opening themselves up to day’s possibilities

    and music courses through bloodstreams
    in sync with the rhythm of the moment

    and lightning bugs dance across fields
    bringing constellations to life

    and magic breathes in each poem
    sighed across eager lines

    and the moon listens every night to hopes
    too scared to come out into the light

    and the world is a beautiful welcome mat
    waiting to embrace all who choose to enter

    if only I would accept happiness’s reach.

  12. MHR

    What if when you called my name, you kept running?
    Your feet blistered up and your voice was on fire,
    but you kept to the claim that you weren’t a liar?

    What if I believed you?
    And I passed over the fault line, tripped and fell,
    and you actually helped me up?

    What if I hadn’t walked into your arms?
    You had realized her perfume was too strong,
    And you’d made up your mind on me,
    instead of her.

    What if, instead of her?

  13. Alphabet Architect

    I Would if I Could

    I have never parasailed
    Above the aqua water
    Off Key West during sun set.
    But I would if I could.

    I have never played pat-a-cake
    With a mischievous capuchin
    Sitting in my lap.
    But I would if I could.

    I have never been to New York
    To watch a hit musical
    On Broadway.
    But I would if I could.

    I have never helicoptered
    To Mendenhall Glacier
    For a dog sled ride.
    But I would if I could.

    I have never gambled away
    An entire year’s salary
    In Las Vegas.
    But I could if I would.

  14. pipersfancy

    I’ll Be Damned If I Give In

    I’ll be damned if I give in to peers or parents or wayward children
    barking mad as lost hounds in the wild, and I accept these truths:
    too often I make the wrong turn, back the wrong team, hoist the
    flag before the battle cry has faded from mongering ears. It would
    be grand if each of us bore our burdens a little more graciously,
    realistically distributing the weight of our mistakes evenly amidst
    the thorns and thistles we walk through, barefooted and blind
    as children following bread crumb trails. Because, in the end we
    share the same roots—having sprung up from nothing, we return
    intertwined with each other.

  15. Pat Walsh

    given if asked
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    late and dark in the lot
    outside the hall after a show
    they approach like
    a threat of rain
    torrential and potentially
    to the unprepared

    junkies tell stories
    every bit as brilliant
    as the most celebrated
    Park Avenue
    marketing maven

    though he argues that
    she does them no favor
    if they spend it on a fix
    she nods and passes a five
    saying you never know
    when need
    will buy another day

  16. Sara McNulty

    Pigs Could Fly If They Had Wings

    If pigs were gifted set of wings
    they could start flying.

    Would they choose a destination
    with carnations

    to mask the smell of former sty,
    and beautify?

    Would the gifted shun those other
    pigs who chose to stay and root ’round
    in mud, grunting until they found
    corncobs to chew? Well, I wonder.

  17. lsteadly

    It’s As If the Devil Came To Play

    It’s as if the devil came to play
    with my mother along life’s highway
    before we knew she could not tell
    reality from her own hell

    And once that fearful fog took hold
    her soul the devil surely sold
    leaving us to sift through the dust
    of ruin she laid with her mistrust

    And now as twilight draws so near
    I cherish the days that she can hear
    my voice and remember those fine hours
    spent together will always be ours

  18. MET

    We would all ride, if wishes were horses…

    Stomping my six-year-old feet…
    I wailed, “I don’t want to go to school.
    I can read anyway.”
    Ma was determined.
    “This is not a choice.”
    “They won’t let me climb trees.”
    Her jaw set,
    “You can climb them when you get home.”
    Eyes narrowed,
    “But it is not what I wish or want or need.”
    Ma’s stoic-self spoke,
    “Mary Elizabeth, do you see any horses here?”
    I shook my head…
    She continued,
    “Because wishes are not horses,
    And we can’t all ride.”
    Sometimes Ma growing up
    Before there were many cars baffled me…
    We didn’t need horses we had a car, and
    I told her that.
    Her final word was
    “You are going to school.”

    I went… I ran away
    Each day…I did not go home.
    I went to library to find books
    I could read.
    They wanted me to read
    About Alice and Jerry.
    The library let me read
    Books with adventures.
    The library called the school.
    Plan failed, but the next recess
    And six weeks longer
    I spent visiting people
    I did not know, and
    Found a wood I liked.

    One day my mother found me
    And took me to the school.
    My teacher told her leave me
    That she would make sure
    I never ran away again.
    Then my stoic mother
    Became my hero,
    “You will not touch my daughter.”
    We went to the principal’s office, and
    I sat waiting for her to come out
    Afraid what may happen to me.

    The next day I went to school,
    At recess my escape time,
    The principal came for me,
    And while the other children played,
    I read to him books that I chose to read.

    There is a reason my mother said
    I was her most difficult child
    The first time she did not know me.
    When I told her I was me,
    She said she did not have me…
    For Mary Elizabeth had long braids
    And got into all kinds of messes
    And trouble.
    I laughed at something
    I always knew.
    And glad the first time
    She did not know me…
    It made me laugh.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 9, 2017

  19. robinamelia

    sing if frightened

    catch the ball if its pitched in your face;
    cling to the reins if the horse takes off;
    make a scene if no one is paying attention to your pain.

    dive deeper if the surface shines back with only your own grim face;
    call on heavenly hosts for help if your reflection refuses to ripple;
    listen harder through the roar of silence,

    the roar of coursing blood.
    Sleep if you can’t fight any longer
    dreams may be kinder than you think.

  20. grcran

    No Ifs or Ands, But…

    If ifs were ands
    and buts were true
    and logic sniffed for facts
    If sifted through
    the and might stand
    where trains drift off the tracks
    If buts rebutted
    wrong and longed for
    sad shape-shifting foe
    Then woe’d recede
    in bliss indeed
    with ifs ands buts just so

    gpr crane

  21. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Take the Test, If You Dare

    One hundred questions
    culled from the facts
    paramount to responsible citizenship

    One hundred questions
    that cover trivia of government,
    historic data and geographic stats

    Ten is the total number
    asked to those whose dream
    is to call the US home

    Six is the magic number
    that opens the gate
    into the Land of Free

    One hundred questions
    the answers of which many nationals
    would find impossible to give

  22. Janet Rice Carnahan


    One dive
    You come alive
    Do another, take five

    If the water’s is cold
    Be quick, be bold
    Do it now before you’re old

    Perhaps dip in a mountain lake
    Swim more than you can ever take
    Stay in until you really shake

    Take a breath in the ocean
    Keep moving, stay in motion
    Feel the depth of emotion

    Wade into a rushing Spring stream
    Merrily like a perfect dream
    Finish it with ice cream

    Stand under a cascading waterfall
    Submerge yourself, soak it all
    Do it immediately, don’t stall

    Plan to swim in the pond
    Tell me soon, I’ll respond
    It will enable us to bond

    How about a walk in the rain
    I promise it will never stain
    Bringing us joy, a better gain

    Not all water is crisp and clean
    Some has been used in an old machine
    Don’t touch if it is layered in green

    In that case avoid a good swim
    Otherwise your day will tun grim
    Trust yourself when it is right to go in

    Water brings us life and great fun
    Time in wonderful liquid is never done
    Jump right into it when you find some

  23. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    I could have a ham sandwich if I had some ham,
    And if I had some bread;
    Or a sweet potato if I had a yam.
    I could have a ham sandwich if I had some ham,
    (All things considered, I don’t care for SPAM).
    I don’t ask for much to keep me fed.
    I could have a ham sandwich if I had some ham,
    And if I had some bread.

  24. MET

    Please bear with me over the next few days…the anniversary week is about to hit…

    If only I could skip November 11th thru the 17th

    There is no eraser that will take those days
    From the year and give me only fifty-one weeks.
    I would gladly miss those days each year….

    November11th my Uncle Fred
    Said good-bye, and the Rainey clan
    Grieved our loss.
    My mother became the oldest living
    One in her family,
    And just the four sisters remained.

    November 12th, my mother
    Had surgery in her the last November
    Of her life.
    A tough choice let her go without,
    And die a slow painful death, or
    Risk a quick death in surgery…
    The choice was mine to make.
    I let her go but asked in prayer
    For her one last spring to see.
    My prayer was answered
    In the sweetest way.

    November 13th, brother Gary
    Left us six weeks after brother Jimmy.
    I dreamed of my father sitting
    Writing on a legal pad,
    And the next morning found
    Something he wrote about eternity…
    A message from heaven
    I will always believe.
    Gary’s heart broke
    When Jimmy died…
    He lost his will to fight.
    The odd thing is my father and my brother
    Did not die on the same day, but
    Their tombstones say they did.

    November 14th was a Saturday…
    The last full day my father lived.
    He was so weak and broken, and
    Cold and hurting…
    Ma and I shared a concerned look
    Just after midnight he brokenly cried,
    “Louise, I can’t fight no more.”
    The stoic woman she always was
    Said, “Joe we will be fine.”
    By morning he would be gone.

    November 15th, Da was gone…
    Ma called me to check on him…
    My worst nightmare was true.
    I knew as I walked into the room
    His spirit had left its home.
    I told my mother that he was gone, and
    Watched the strength drain from her.
    I turned to kiss his still warm forehead
    And told him goodbye.

    November 16th I am drained…
    Nothing yet has happened
    On that day and I hope none ever does.

    November 17th, I laid
    My father and my brother Gary
    Eleven years apart…

    And by that day each year…
    I hope that the next year
    The days will disappear…
    So, if you meet during that week…
    Tell me a joke or two….
    Make me laugh, and maybe
    Invite me to share lunch…
    And tell me of your life…

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 9, 2017

  25. KM

    What if we believed the first one to speak up? To use her voice, even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts. Even when it might cost her everything. Even if it might cost us something. What if we didn’t have to wait years for the truth to ooze out from a festering boil that no one wants to see or mention? What if my sister hadn’t been with me, that time on the London tube, when the man across from us reached into his pants, and I sat in suspended animation? We didn’t talk about it, after she grabbed my hand and pulled me up, away. After we rushed off at the next stop. She swore and I warbled some panicked giggle — one I still don’t fully understand — but then we were silent. Walking away. Walking to get tea. Walking to normal. What if was no longer normal? I remember in geometry, the if A then B theorem. Or maybe it was X if and only if Y. If and only if why. Why does proof have to take so long and hurt so much?

    – Kim Mannix

  26. Valkyri

    (Work In Progress)

    write if you have something to say…

    we poets work with the potentiality of words –
    determined to unlock their mysteries and secrets
    we want you to feel the damp moss on grey stones
    smell the petrichor eminating from the dry ground
    see the dusky blue hues of a gentle twilight

    can you feel it when our bitter fists pummel you?
    do your feet stumble down the empty snow covered avenue with us?
    can you taste the barbecue at a busy summer butterfly reunion?
    do you dig the holes within your soul, burying your secrets deep?
    will you stomp along to each beat of these ancient drums?

    we write if we have something to say…
    you read each word with tender care
    wearing grooves in your carpet and your brain
    to learn our heart lessons and grow with us

  27. Anthony94

    But if a Hawk

    Pink fills the inverted cones
    between the cedar mountains
    before clouds seal in the night
    already stealing in from the southwest.

    Today was a nineteen hawk trip,
    sentinel redtails and one sparrow hawk
    bending the tips of trees, fluffed atop
    power poles, sitting the green road signs.

    News of a sort mumbled from public
    radio to keep other riders happily engaged
    but I fled the confines and to absorb the last
    flare of sugar maples, golden oaks.

    Found coots riding the water on farm ponds
    but always under the watchful eye of a hawk
    one even sitting last night’s deer kill, another
    flicking off a pair of crows intent on dislodging

    the stolid interloper. Now and then a pair
    shared territory, but if a nineteen hawks
    can be found in all their glory across these two
    counties and no one sees them, are they there?

  28. Domino

    The Saddest Words are If Only

    If only I’d tried.
    If only I’d been kind.
    If only I’d yelled less.
    If only mom was here.
    If only I’d shared more.
    If only I’d said goodbye.
    If only I hadn’t said that.
    If only I’d traveled more.
    If only I’d forgiven them.
    If only I’d said “I love you.”
    If only I’d taken a cab home.
    If only I’d shared my cookie.
    If only I’d invited them over.
    If only I’d gotten that degree.
    If only I’d buried the hatchet.
    If only he/she were still alive.
    If only I’d followed my heart.
    If only I’d stood up to bullies.
    If only I hadn’t been so mean.
    If only I were more confident.
    If only I’d trusted my instincts.
    If only I’d brought them dinner.
    If only I’d let myself be happier.
    If only he/she would forgive me.
    If only I hadn’t worked so much.
    If only I’d driven more carefully.
    If only I’d listened to my parents.
    If only I hadn’t been such a bully.
    If only I’d left my phone at home.
    If only I hadn’t had that last drink.
    If only I spent more time with them.
    If only they knew how much I cared.
    If only I’d been with them at the end.
    If only I could take those words back.
    If only I hadn’t dumped my true love.
    If only I’d gotten to know them better.
    If only I’d tried harder to stay married.
    If only I hadn’t been too afraid to leave.
    If only I’d learned that second language.
    If only I’d taken that job I really wanted.
    If only I had a chance to say “I’m sorry.”
    If only I’d sent that card I meant to send.
    If only I’d had the nerve to ask them out.
    If only I’d taken better care of my health.
    If only I’d given them a hug one last time.
    If only I’d done more things with the kids.
    If only I’d stayed in touch with my friends.
    If only I’d spent more time with my family.
    If only I’d been there when they needed me.
    If only I’d helped while they were still alive.
    If only I hadn’t been so scared to risk failure.
    If only I’d visited my friend before they died.
    If only I hadn’t taken everything so seriously.
    If only I’d heard what they were trying to say.
    If only I’d deleted that email before I hit send.
    If only I’d said what I wanted to at the funeral.
    If only I could swallow my pride and apologize.
    If only I’d given that dollar I didn’t need anyway.
    If only I’d had the strength to confront my abuser.
    If only I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
    If only I’d listened to my friend before the suicide.
    If only I hadn’t worried so much about everything.
    If only I’d read to them when they were still small.
    If only I’d been a better mother/father/daughter/son.
    If only I hadn’t spent the money on something stupid.
    If only I had quit smoking, or better yet, never started.
    If only I’d given them a chance to get a word in edgewise.
    If only I hadn’t gotten mixed up with such a dangerous crowd.
    If only I hadn’t worried so much about what other people think.
    If only I hadn’t yelled, even though I didn’t know they had cancer.
    If only mom/dad had lived long enough to see who I turned out to be.
    If only I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

  29. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    Out on the front porch,
    That ol’ sun’s a blowtorch,
    But I’m cold to the bone,
    Since you went away.
    Sitting and stewing,
    What am I doing?
    I should’ve said something;
    But what could I say?

    “If only, if only,”
    The two saddest words;
    Of all the sad words,
    That I’ve ever heard;
    Including “Good bye,”
    And “I’m feeling lonely;”
    And “Don’t love you no more,”
    “If only, if only.”

    I know there were chances,
    In our verbal dances,
    To tell you the things
    You needed to hear;
    But I was struck dumb,
    And the words wouldn’t come,
    But now I can see it quite clear.

    “If only, if only,”
    The two saddest words;
    Of all the sad words,
    That I’ve ever heard;
    Including “Good bye,”
    And “I’m feeling lonely;”
    And “Don’t love you no more,”
    “If only, if only.”

    Regret’s a pot of cold coffee,
    Bitter, and it keeps you awake;
    If only I’d see,
    What’s in front of me
    I’d know the direction to take.

    If only, if only,”
    The two saddest words;
    Of all the sad words,
    That I’ve ever heard;
    Including “Good bye,”
    And “I’m feeling lonely;”
    And “Don’t love you no more,”
    “If only, if only.”

  30. Linowen

    Unmarried Larry

    I would have married Larry
    if only he’d have been
    more like dear handsome Harry
    with his super hero chin.

    Or more like Alexander
    with his jokes that made me laugh.
    He was a stand up comic,
    but his punch line didn’t last.

    I would have married Larry
    if his legs were not so long.
    One step of his was eight of mine
    like Faye Ray and King Kong.

    Our love was quite a miss-match.
    His banter drove me loopeé.
    I would have married Larry
    but couldn’t stand his toupeé.

    Our paths diverged. We parted.
    Let’s be earnest and frank.
    Here’s to loveless Larry.
    Our courtship up and sank.

  31. Holly

    Early risers

    Bad day
    if she misses early morning swim.
    Its not the swim
    she likes

    that much.
    Who would want
    to plunge in body-shocking water
    when sounds

    the five o’clock alarm?
    Morning people
    and their teammates.
    It feels so good

    when it’s over.

  32. MET

    To Da if you had not had Polycystic Kidney Disease

    You would have lived a long life
    Working your garden,
    Overwhelming us
    With the barrage of vegetables
    All summer long, but
    Each time we sat for a feast…
    We would give praise that you did.

    My brothers would not have inherited
    The cruel disease, and would still be here
    To share memories while we sat at the table
    Laughing and telling jokes…
    Because we always laughed the best
    When we were all together,
    And I would not have been alone
    When Ma said goodbye.
    I needed their strength
    Each day…
    It is hard to be the last one.

    Da, I would not be missing your biscuits
    For nearly thirty years.
    I have been trying
    To make them and
    I think I finally found the trick.
    I would not have given away
    Your fishing gear to your friend.
    Your pipe long not smoked
    Is on the bookcase gathering dust,
    And your harmonica is silent.

    I miss your singing in the morning,
    And telling the story of the fight
    With the goat…
    Or hearing someone say,
    “Joe can you recite
    One of your poems.”
    We would smile for a treat
    Was about to be given.
    I remember seeing you
    Shelling peas
    And saying, “thank you Lord,”
    When it rained.

    I miss tramping thru the woods
    Looking for wildflowers, or
    Going with you to hear
    You speak to college students
    And garden clubs
    About the beauty
    In wildflowers, and hearing you say,
    “One person’s weeds
    Is another person’s flower.”

    Da, I simply miss you, and
    I hate the disease that took you…
    And hope each year they will find a cure.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 9, 2017

    1. Linowen

      Mary, your ability to make the relationships in your life so real to your readers is such a gift! When i begin reading one of your poems, I can never stop. Great writing!

  33. Kayla

    Dreams Are Reality If Reality Is Dreams

    What if none of this is real
    What if they couldn’t affect how I feel
    Maybe this is just a nightmare
    Maybe this is fake fear
    But if reality is fake and dreams are true
    Then who am I and who are you
    How do we escape this
    This demon that’s faceless
    We close our eyes and forget in sleep
    And we stop the day in which we weep
    But I stand again every day
    Even with demons in my way
    I stand up tall
    For them I’ll never fall
    I don’t fall when I sleep
    Just my sanity I’m trying to keep
    So who are you and who am I
    And how come in only dreams we fly
    Why don’t we push our demons down
    Why not finally let them drown
    Are we scared of letting go of fear
    Because the there’s nothing to blame for failure
    That’s alright while all of you hide
    I’m gonna push my demons aside

      1. Kayla

        Thank you, yes that was a special part in the poem for me, sometimes I wonder if the things we fear aren’t the actual things we are afraid of, or if we’re fearing things that aren’t really there.

  34. Jane Shlensky

    Speak Up If You Want to Be Heard

    I won’t say yell, nor even shout,
    But stand and speak with common sense.
    It helps folks know what you’re about
    And speaking well has its own clout.
    Speak up and give us your two cents!

  35. Jane Shlensky

    Call Me If You Need Me

    I know you won’t.
    You’ll think I should know if you need me—
    telepathic tomfoolery—but I’m no mind-reader,
    never was back then either.

    You’ll think it’s improper, since Ellie died,
    but we’re both widowers now and full grown.
    We don’t have to care what gossips say.
    You just call. I’m right here and happy to help.

    You’ll think I want something in return,
    and maybe I do. You could repay me with a cherry pie.
    Yours were always better than Ellie’s.
    Don’t mention that I said so.

    1. seingraham

      I especially love this last one, with the cherry pie payment suggested. And isn’t that so true – the mind-reader thing? How many of us have at least one person in our life that just believes we know what they need, want, are thinking? Nice, Jane.


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