To the Woman I Loved Too Soon — By Diane Silver

Now that it’s legal for us to marry

I wonder if you and I have become glass:

We’re there—but maybe not—

transparent unless held up to the light

turned so the glow from some lamp glances off

to show us all those years ago

in bed falling asleep holding hands

in our kitchen leaning together as you stir a pot

in our living room dancing in bare feet

sitting on the floor outside our toddler’s room

because it’s 2 a.m., he won’t stop crying,

all the books say let him cry until he falls asleep.

We last a whole five minutes before barging in.

I pick him up, you curl around us both

and together we sing him to sleep.


If some stranger should come close enough

to brush a hand against the thin sheet of our lives

he might catch on the moment

we arrived home from the doctor to see

every ceramic pot you ever brought to life (except one)

on the floor in pieces, probably knocked off the table

by our cat who inspected them after you left them there

because we were late for the appointment

where the doctor said your cancer had come back.


You picked up that last pot, held it so long I thought:

it’s ok. she’s handling this

then threw it down to smash

shards skittering across the tile.

You leaned on the tabletop, inhaled.

I was thankful to be there to hold tight

as you shook in my arms

on that day 22 years before

we could marry

three months before

you were dead.


We all die.


Every love that doesn’t end

in argument ends in death.

Yet I can’t help but worry:

What will happen to we

who were forbidden

to sign the book of marriage?

Generations of our families

have already been wiped clean

from time. Will you and I become

another glass shattered?


Will all our pieces be left behind?


~ Diane Silver

Diane Silver is an activist and journalist. Her work has appeared in Ms, The Progressive, and other venues. Her latest books are Your Daily Shot of Hope vol. 1 (Meditations for an Age of Despair) and vol. 2 (Meditations on Awakening). You can find her at and @DianeSilver

Monthly Editor Maril Crabtree’s poems have been published in I-70 Review, Coal City Review, Main Street Rag, and others. Her book Fireflies in the Gathering Dark (Aldrich Press, 2017) is a Kansas Notable Book and Thorpe Menn Award finalist.


To My 5-Year-Old Self at the Sweetwater Sea — By Diane Silver

The hot sand will sting the bottoms of both bare feet.

Ignore it.


Your mother will shout it’s time to go.

Ignore it.


Your brother will laugh.

Ignore it.


Your skin will open.

(pay attention)

like the sides of a box banging down.

Sun will heat the inside, the walls will melt.

Incredibly bright. Surprisingly cool.

Your eyes will adjust.


You will see the line of water meeting sky,

swelling, subsiding, huffing up again.

You will smell it.

(How could you have missed it before?)

The metallic bit of pure water.


You have become porous.

You are no longer of this earth.

You could become sun.

You could revel in light replacing fingers, toes, face, stomach.

it would be easy. You know this for a fact, but choose to stay.

(Curiosity perhaps.)


Remember this

when your mother grabs your upper arm and drags you to the car.


Remember this

when the only escape from middle school is a cramped square window.


Remember this

when you’re alone in your house, wondering if you should make a plan to die.


Remember this

when you open your door today, and the mob is screaming.

~ Diane Silver

Diane Silver is an activist and journalist who grew up in Michigan, surrounded by sweetwater seas, otherwise known as The Great Lakes. Her work has appeared in Ms and other venues. Her latest books are Your Daily Shot of Hope vol. 1 (Meditations for an Age of Despair) and vol. 2 (Meditations on Awakening).


James Benger is a father, husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications. He is the author of two fiction ebooks: Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013), and two chapbooks of poetry: As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016) and You’ve Heard It All Before (GigaPoem 2017). He is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online poetry workshop and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.