Two Poems by Betsy Mars


So many hearts and none
anatomical: small boxes
and pendants, ceramic
and amethyst, fused glass,
and silver, gold. Paper-
weights, jackets festooned
in pink and hotter pink.
Mugs. Mugs. Mugs.
And my mother’s heart

when on that night
I dropped, water bursting
before its time. Three weeks
early, she held me in one more day,
confined in her narrow hospital bed,
birthing a story as well as me,
my life framed in hearts and love,
or at the very least, the idea
of it, a messenger delivering me
arrows that graze me every birthday.


Rainy Day Box

Some days, when I feel more child
than adult, raining or not, I remember

that box of special things my parents
put aside— a cardboard chest

holding macaroni, glitter, string—
that they withheld on sunny days,

a child’s treasure. I lift the lid
of memory seeking what I need, find

space and time.


Betsy Mars is a prize-winning poet, a photographer, and publishes an occasional anthology through Kingly Street Press. She is an assistant editor at Gyroscope Review. Poetry publications include Rise Up Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, New Verse News, Sky Island, and Minyan. She is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee. Betsy’s photos have been featured in RATTLE’s Ekphrastic Challenge, Spank the Carp, Praxis, and Redheaded Stepchild. She is the author of Alinea and co-author of In the Muddle of the Night with Alan Walowitz.

13 by Jane Zwart


A contractor does not build a tall hotel,
then Jenga from the stack of floors
the layer after twelve. This fact shocks no one.
Yet superstitious travelers blithely rest
their heads in fourteenth-story suites. Little
is more literal than the magical thinker’s mind.
Or more exacting: my great-aunt refused
the extra bun in the baker’s generous dozen.
I have brought back your Iscariot roll, she told
the kid behind the till—and that woman loved
both bread and thrift. Some of the credulous
are like that, though; raised on wrath, they think
that the only luck must be lightning.


Jane Zwart’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, and TriQuarterly, as well as other journals and magazines.