Treehouse

online magazine for short, good writing

Category: Poetry

Breakfast with Marge

by Treehouse Editors

Deborah Thompson

she was hard-shelled and brittle
a soft-boiled smooth oval of
silk gloss and rich sulfur paste
thick enough to stick to the roof of
your mouth, your tongue, your teeth
clinging and hard to swallow.

she left persistent flicks of jelly-glue
that dried like shredded snake skin
on the cold surface of the kitchen table
and jaw-jarring hidden grit bits
opaque and sharp as glass, to remain
embedded in soft gum tissue
for hours, days, years.

care must be taken.
one slip could send her hurtling
through the air, a bursting mass
of slippery-hot goo and
stinging shell shards to the back
of your unsuspecting head
viscous drippings down your bare neck.

turn quickly to see her
once again polished, intact.
think it was imagined, think
it must have been.
then notice you have taken to
tip-toeing around her, not to feel
the scattered fragments as
they cut into your feet.


Deborah Thompson writes mostly short, memoir-themed poetry. Her hope is that her poetry will ring true to the experience of her readers, and that they will feel accompanied and empowered to speak their own truth. She has previously been published in the 16th edition of PoemMemoirStory, a literary journal of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Impression-Management Consultant

by Treehouse Editors

Jim Richards

A homeless man wearing a black overcoat, standing before a shop window, looks through his reflection to a leather jacket hanging on a headless mannequin. A rat peeks at him from the gutter grate, watching for crumbs to fall from bread the man keeps in his holey pockets. The man and the rat are on intimate terms since they share this corner of sidewalk. Between them, rushes a stream of people, each with a phone in hand, except for one young woman who is carrying a book. As the rain comes on, the people rush faster, and the sound of their shoes on wet cement increases the city’s treble. The rain comes harder, and the rat ducks into his crack, the homeless man wanders off, and the woman, who is wearing heels, hurries down the sidewalk holding the book above her head.


Jim Richards’ poems have been nominated for Best New Poets, two Pushcart Prizes, and have appeared recently in Sugar House Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review, South Carolina Review, Juked, Comstock Review, Cumberland River Review and others. He lives in eastern Idaho’s Snake River valley and has received a fellowship from the Idaho Commission on the Arts. jim-richards.com

50

by Treehouse Editors

Jim Richards

It’s a crowbar someone left on the side
of the freeway after changing a flat tire
at two a.m. No one knows how that bar
worked its way to the middle of the lane
where you are speeding,
   distracted by an old song.

It’s a canoe someone dragged ashore
well beyond the water, or maybe
the water has receded; either way
you cannot launch the boat alone
where you want it to rock
   on a surface between two skies.

It’s the mattress you were hauling in your pickup
that flew out and is spinning on the highway
like a fallen skater in your rearview mirror,
opposed to what you used to behold
through a clean windshield:
   limitless highway, with exits.


Jim Richards’ poems have been nominated for Best New Poets, two Pushcart Prizes, and have appeared recently in Sugar House Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review, South Carolina Review, Juked, Comstock Review, Cumberland River Review and others. He lives in eastern Idaho’s Snake River valley and has received a fellowship from the Idaho Commission on the Arts. jim-richards.com

A Simile for His Voice

by Treehouse Editors

Sara Pirkle

Like the compass in a bat’s brain
guiding it through glassy nights
to light on damp grass and worry mice
from their hushed hiding spots,
his voice inhabits my head, scrambles
the channels so that my thoughts
keep returning to evenings in his bed,
when we tenderly troubled back
the spread and dismantled
each other with trembling hands,
pleasure lurking like landmines.


Sara Pirkle is the author of The Disappearing Act, which won the 2016 Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry. Her poems have been published in Rattle, Reed, Entropy, TAB, The Raintown Review, Emrys, and Atticus Review, among others. Sara has received writing fellowships from The Anderson Center, I-Park Foundation, and The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. She is the Assistant Director of Creative Writing at The University of Alabama, where she also hosts the Pure Products Reading & Lecture Series.

The Way of Neighbors 2

by Treehouse Editors

Linda Conroy

See our baby; two weeks old today, the man calls out to me. I don’t know him,
not really, yet. Late last year he moved into the Craftsman house beside the park, where the field is fenced off. If I’d met him further down the road, I would not have recognized him, but here in his yard, with his Eurovan, his golden lab, and now his daughter, he’s in place.

I think I met your wife, I say. I talked with her some weeks ago when I walked past. Her hair’s red, isn’t it? Yes, it is, he says, and sometimes different shades. So she was pregnant then, not just my guess. He grins.

The babe is swaddled loosely in a cloth. Her neck and back and feet are bare. Her head rests on his shoulder, facing me. Her arm drapes over his, her tiny hand so loose. She’s sound asleep, not knowing the effect she has. Her birth brings people close enough to stop, for her father to call out to those he didn’t know and we respond, no longer only nodding as we pass.


Linda Conroy is a retired social worker who likes to describe her observations on the complexity of behaviors that make us all human. Her work has recently been published or is forthcoming in The Penwood Review, Plainsongs, Psaltery and Lyre, and other local anthologies. Her book, Ordinary Signs, will be published this spring.

The Way of Neighbors

by Treehouse Editors

Linda Conroy

With rain from empty sky, fall came fast, unexpected, even after all this time. Strange to be dark again at seven, then at six, time to tuck in, close the curtains, cushion coming doubt. Harsh division day from night, in from out, splits liveliness from sleep, unless, as is the threat, the good game changer, snow. It will be a brighter place here then, pulling us outside with shovels, brooms and salt, bringing neighbors, dogs and children out, and Mary next door with her red coat says, wait, after we have dug and swept, I have some apple cider, let’s make punch. Macs and boots stack in her hall. The kitchen fills and long-told stories creep from dusty shelves. Remember when Clement broke his leg the day the barn came down, and Silas married Sarah in three feet of snow. The minister was booked, so Silas said we had to go ahead and others stamped their feet and dug a path. Good thing we only had to come from here, someone said.


Linda Conroy is a retired social worker who likes to observe the simplicity and complexity of the human connections which inform and foreshadow the art of writing poetry. Her poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Third Wednesday, Shot Glass, The Penwood Review, Washington 129, The Poeming Pigeon, Clover – A Literary Rag, and Raven Chronicles.

Denial

by Treehouse Editors

Finola McDonald

the last time
I went into town
there were bodies in the convenience store

strangled with garlands
of their own
misfortune.

I knelt beside them,
thanked them as I plucked
rubies
from their eye sockets

           and continued on
to the milk aisle.


Finola McDonald is a Bronx native and coffee enthusiast with a thing for writing. She is currently completing her undergraduate studies at SUNY Purchase in Westchester, NY.