Three Poems by Lois Perch Villemaire

Hot Tea and Hamantaschen

A cup of hot
vanilla caramel tea
with a cherry
hamantaschen
takes me back.
No, it’s not Purim.
My local bagel shop
bakes them all year round.

The tea—
a reminder of my mother,
faithful tea-drinker;
the hamantaschen—
a reminder of the time
one of my daughters
brought home a recipe
from pre-school.

Sipping on my tea
I see my little girls
as we baked together,
mixing and rolling dough,
spooning cherry pie-filling
then folding just so—
into the shape of Haman’s
triangular hat.

*

Happiness

is not handed out
like Halloween candy.
If there is none
where you wish to find it,
feel the loss then rejoice
in fortuitous discoveries.

The deep purple bloom
of an African violet
created from a single leaf,
the taste of a fresh banana,
the company of someone you love,
the encouragement of a friend,

a book you long to return to,
music—an arrow to your heart,
baby birds with open beaks
in a nest outside your window,
and a blossoming hydrangea
you planted seven years ago
in memory of your sister.

*

Calling All Poets
         After June Jordan

Slow down
look around
there’s something
impressive to see.

Feel the silent breeze
watch the wisdom
of the birds
building nests
with precision.

Listen to their calls
rhythmic chirping
rings through the air.
I wonder—
what is the message?

Notice how swiftly
trees convert
from naked
to full bloom,
barely time to
grasp
the transformation.

*

Lois Perch Villemaire writes poetry, flash memoir, and fiction. Her work has appeared in such places as Blue Mountain Review, Ekphrastic Review, One Art: A Journal of Poetry, Pen In Hand and Topical Poetry. Anthologies, including I Am My Father’s Daughter and Truth Serum Press – Lifespan Series have published her memoir and poetry. Her first book, “My Eight Greats,” a family history in poetry and prose, will be published in September. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Lois lives in Annapolis, MD, where she enjoys yoga, researching family connections, fun photography, and doting over her African violets.

While Teaching Line Dancing at a Senior Center… by Pauli Dutton

While Teaching Line Dancing at a Senior Center,
Someone Accuses Me of Always Being Happy

But who isn’t happy dancing?
When I read a book where the hero gives his life away
out of love, I cry for three days.
At the movies when the girl is attacked then tossed
from the high window, I run to the restroom.
I’ve been unhappy and terrified.
I’ve tried to escape the mind— scenes of mother’s
schizophrenia and its ricocheting effects
through a kaleidoscope of bustle.
Now, I teach myself to dance like a flower
to savor the fragrance of rosemary in the stew,
the chords of my husband’s proof-of-life snore,
and the satisfaction of each communal
kick and clap to an electric slide.
This keeps me bursting like a sky of fireworks,
which you mistake for joy.

*

Pauli Dutton has been published in Writing In A Woman’s Voice, Verse Virtual, The Pangolin Review, Better Than Starbucks, Altadena Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She was a librarian for 40 years, where she founded, coordinated, and led a public reading series from 2003 – 2014. She has served on the Selection Committees for The Altadena Literary Review in 2020 and The Altadena Poetry Review from 2015 – 2019. She also co-edited the 2017 and 2018 editions. Pauli holds an MLIS from the University of Southern California.