Pronouns

by Marjorie Maddox

             –May 2020

“Time out!”
says the young mother to the toddler
too loudly,
pretending a scream is not a scream.

The small girl stands in a corner
crowded with fear. She flails her arms,
then settles her tear-streaked face
into a pout.

            Outside, the sun dazzles
without her.

It is her mother she hates,
the one digging now through the kitchen trash,
what’s left of the mask soiled with coffee grounds,
Elmo safety scissors hidden deeper yet
beneath the last egg shells, the empty carton of milk.

Outside, the sun dazzles
without them.

The mother cuts her finger
on a discarded can. The daughter wails.
Someone is screeching, “Out! Out! Out!”
She is/is not the child. She is/is not the mom.
Outside the sun.
Without them.

Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); True, False, None of the Above (Illumination Book Award Medalist)Local News from Someplace Else;Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)—the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); four children’s and YA books—including  Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Readiing Poems with Insider Exercises (Finalist Children’s Educational Category 2020 International Book Awards), andA Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in PoetryI’m Feeling Blue, Too!Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania(co-editor); Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry (assistant editor); and 600+ stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Forthcoming in 2021 is her book Begin with a Question (Paraclete Press), as well as her ekphrastic collaboration with photographer Karen Elias, Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For (Shanti Arts). For more information, please see www.marjoriemaddox.com.Varada J.M is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.    

Prince Henry Hospital and Nursing Museum -virtual tour

by Marjorie Maddox


In Little Bay, Australia: the injured, the isolated,
the highly infectious, and now, you, Dear Reader,

unrolling the bandages, passing the scalpel,
wiping the brows, stacking the bedpans,

pushing the wooden wheelchair down the long hall
toward the next century’s death and disease,

which is today, Memorial Weekend, 2020,
the museum’s smiling mannequins unable to say

which way to turn to escape the vast array
of scales, the showcased skeletons, the inevitable

interaction with grief, and what the typed captions
will read after next decade’s renovations make room

for this year’s tallies of loss and sorrow. Go now
out the unlocked side door and onto the wide front porch.

The ocean is still there: crashing or cleansing? Listen.
Decide whether or not to breathe.



Marjorie Maddox is the winner of America Magazine’s 2019 Foley Poetry Prize and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University. She has published 11 collections of poetry, including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); True, False, None of the Above (Illumination Book Award Medalist)Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award); the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); and four children’s and YA books, including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Readiing Poems with Insider Exercises and A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry, Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems, and I’m Feeling Blue, Too! Arabella Luna Friedland is a visual artist and writer based in New York City. She’s influenced by a childhood with cartoons, a classical education in anatomy and life drawing, and a firm belief that all art — is a portrait.