A dream left me aching with past tense
longing. An impossible situation
a long time ago, but dreams have no
calendar. Why wake now, remembering
the intensity of his need hidden
behind a triangular smile. Instead,
recall telling him you now understand
your role in his life, as a shield from
emotions he can’t unpack. He does not
want to grasp my message, but I see it
flash across his face. War-torn Germany,
a mother selling the only thing she
had to feed her son in a city bombed
to dust. His shame? Being the reason for
her shame. How long can a son’s shame remain?
A lifetime, shown in his distrust of all
women’s love, shielding his heart behind
the barbed wire of a camp, built years ago.
Reaching out, he grasped my hand, and pulled it
through the shredding wire, wounding us both.
I lock him away again in nights’ dream
casket, filled with rue and rosemary.
Stay inside forever, I whisper.
Janet Jenkins-Stotts is a late blooming author of both poetry and prose. She published her first novel “The Orchid Garden” in 2015. Jenkins-Stotts lives in Topeka, Kansas with her husband, Stan and Romeo, their miniature pincher. When not at the computer, composing, you can usually find her at a bridge table.
Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review. Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri. She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.