Two Poems by Barbara Eknoian


He sits on the edge
of the couch
hoping his niece
will like the gift
at the thrift store.
She smiles,
makes a fuss
over the watercolors
in tarnished frames,
showing houses
on a street strewn
with orange leaves.
At the bottom
of the Christmas tree,
she props the prints up
to rest against gifts
bought with Visa
and Mastercard,
and the lovely shades
of autumn outshine
the tinsel and lights.



In a lucid moment,
I wonder why I keep
the black steamer trunk
in the corner of my room
crammed with letters
from girl scout camp
and high school friends,
who have forgotten me
like an old sneaker
hanging from a wire,
along with every letter
from former neighbors,
who meant a lot to me.
I revere the correspondence
as though they’re prayers,
but realize I’m too sentimental
valuing the friendships
for more than what they were.
I contemplate a huge bonfire
and see the letters burning up,
yet I need to hold on to them
like artifacts in a museum
to prove that I was here,
and we were once.


Barbara Eknoian’s work has appeared in Pearl, Chiron Review, Cadence Collective, Redshift, and Silver Birch Press’s anthologies. Her recent collection of short stories published by Amazon is Romance is Not Too Far From Here. She lives in La Mirada, CA with daughter, grandson, one cat and a kitten. The kitten is full of mischief and keeps the whole family on their toes.

A Normal Holiday Night by Barbara Eknoian

A Normal Holiday Night

We get potato chips, dip, soda,
and cookies to make it festive
for my grandsons to stay up
tomorrow night to watch the giant ball
drop for New Year’s Eve.

Tonight after making them supper,
my son, Darren is playing ping pong
on my kitchen island with the boys.
It’s a normal casual night for them.
Later, I join them to watch a movie on TV,
which is unusual for me.
Before I head for bed,
my son asks for an allergy pill.

I’m awakened early by my daughter.
She says, Mom, You need to take this xanax;
something bad happened.
I ask, Is it Aunt Linda?
No, she says, it’s Darren.
Just three words and I’m in instant terror.
I know I’ve just lost my son.


Barbara Eknoian’s work has appeared in Chiron Review, Pearl, YDP, Silver Birch anthologies, and Cadence Collective. She writes novels and short stories about the area where she grew up. Her poetry book is Why I Miss New Jersey. She’s never lost her Jersey accent.