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.

Passover by Ann E. Michael


The first holiday without,
grief burns like anger.
Irritant. Tough fibers
scraping at skin raise a rash,
sore during celebration.
Empty ritual this year.
Empty place at the table–
bitter, bitter herbs.


Ann E. Michael’s upcoming chapbook is Strange Ladies, slated for publication in 2022 (Moonstone Poetry); she is the author of Water-Rites and six other chapbooks. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania and blogs at https://annemichael.blog.