from Ribbon this Memory
of pink satin tied pigtails, a white eyelet
dress, and new patent leather shoes I was
always afraid I would scuff. It was Easter,
and I was watching my mother arrange
the dinner table. Nothing fancy, no crystal glasses
or linen napkins. Just regular place settings
that would quickly fill with ham and all the trimmings
she had stayed up cooking till dawn. No one would notice
that she did not sit at the table with us, but continued
to refill bowls and plates, bring napkins and extra forks.
She would eat later, from a paper plate, standing
over the sink, after the other dishes had been washed
and returned to cupboards, after the kids were asleep
in bed, after the rest of the family had been sent off
with containers of leftovers that would last for days.
In that quiet corner of the kitchen, she leaned
against a counter, sighing. Exhausted but smiling.
Content in knowing that the laughter still echoing
against the stucco ceiling made all her work worthwhile.
Learning to Walk
Tiny brown eyes glow with frustrated determination.
Still on all fours, one leg cocked as she searches
for handhold or point of balance. Finding none,
she continues unaided. Second leg up,
pauses in humorous frog-squat position
before bravely raising her hands. For several seconds
she teeters, a tower of triumph, but excitement propels
her forward. One shaky half-step lands diapered butt
on tiled floor. Instead of expected tears, a giggle
escapes her lips. A moment later, she re-assumes starter
position, ready to try again.
The Road to Sky Road
does not require feathers, or wings
made of wax. It flows like a dream.
Anyone can follow. Just close
your eyes and pretend you are
A.J. Huffman has published eleven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. Her new poetry collection, Another Blood Jet, is not available from Eldritch Press. She has two more poetry collections forthcoming: A Few Bullets Short of Home, from mgv2>publishing and Degeneration, from Pink. Girl. Ink. She is a Multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, and has published over 2100 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. www.kindofahurricanepress.com