★ ★ ★ ★


Arguing with Mother

“I want to throw away that shirt.
The stain won’t wash out.”

“You spent good money.
Wear it around the house.”

“I spent good money
a long time ago.
And I live in an apartment.”

“So how would I know?
I’ve been dead thirty years.”

Still she lives in my head.


Couldn’t find my keys. Panicked,
rushed to call my boyfriend’s cell.

Deep male voice responded, “Yes?”

Didn’t think, blurted,
“Do you have my keys?”


First time I’d heard that.
Surprise, sadness nearly pushed me down,
like that colossal wave in Daytona Beach.
Got up spitting and choking.

“No, I’m sorry. I have the wrong number.”

He sounded seventeen or so,
the right age for a son of mine.

Found my keys five minutes later.
Still taste salt water.

Iris N. Schwartz is a fiction and nonfiction writer, as well as a Pushcart-Prize-nominated poet. Her work has appeared in such journals as Algebra of Owls, Bindweed Magazine, Blue Collar Review, Connotation Press, First Literary Review-East, Gyroscope Review, Random Sample Review, River Poets Journal, Sweater Weather Magazine, and, most recently, Anthology Askew: Love Gone Askew.