★ ★ ★ ★



The issue’s not surviving loss, but love.
It’s everywhere. Love takes so many forms—
from spark, slow burn, to raze—though few, in fact,
romance or conjure blaze. For love, it seems,
is mostly about today: our daily bread.
Thus I wash my face, the sheets, and make
the bed, for love is starch, a still warm iron—
and yet I’m frequently amazed to find
that love is also Grampa’s chipped white mug,
which leaves that old familiar coffee stain.
And love’s a back-shelf box of weathered things
that makes us laugh and sneeze and want to sing
that’s love: your first car key, the car long gone,
that dangles from a brand-new keychain; Grandma’s
shears and needled spool of thread whenever
there’s a hem or tear; the bright pink plastic
Rosary beads that, doubly blessed, I’ve kept
since my First Penance-Holy Communion year;
three slick matchbooks from The Harbor saved
those fancy New Year’s Eves that Mom wore gowns,
we girls long dresses, and petit fours were served
to bubbly guests on three-tiered silver stands;
more two-hole buttons than first cousins and
their kids; no Mason jars for all Dad’s garden
plum tomatoes grown, just metal screw bands
and sealing lids—say, could it be that love
is just a thumb tack worn deck ticket stub
junk drawer memory? O worthless precious love!
I bag you up to toss. I find you at
my plodding feet, each lucky battered penny.

Felicia Sanzari Chernesky is a longtime editor, slowly publishing poet, and author of six picture books, including From Apple Trees to Cider, Please! and The Boy Who Said Nonsense (Albert Whitman & Company). In 2018 she moved away from the masthead of an academic quarterly to work with people who want to share their stories, ideas, and poems in print. Her poem “Mother Tongue” received a 2020 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards honorable mention. Her fiction has been nominated for a 2021 Pushcart Prize and Best Microfiction Award. She lives with her family in Flemington, New Jersey. Find her online at www.feliciachernesky.com


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