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.

The Grapefruit by Bethany Reid

The Grapefruit

In Matisse’s Violinist at the Window,
shades of ochre and orange
make me think of the grapefruit
my husband bought yesterday
at the market, and of the grapefruit spoon,
a Valentine’s Day gift,
that I used this morning at breakfast.
The song the violinist plays
is Chopin, a prelude, or a nocturne,
notes lifting from his bow
both sweet and tart.


Bethany Reid’s poetry books include Sparrow, which won the 2012 Gell Poetry Prize (Big Pencil Press 2012), and The Thing with Feathers, which was published as part of Triple No. 10 (Ravenna Press 2020). She and her husband live in Edmonds, Washington, near their three grown daughters. She blogs at