Following Peaches by Betsy Mars

Following Peaches
for my father

one step at a time, a man/following peaches, only one hand on the rail
-Ted Kooser, Under a Forty-Watt Bulb

That last morning in hospice
you requested fresh peaches
but they could only find canned.
You didn’t mind,
ate slowly, syrup running down your chin.

My mind drifted back decades
to the pool, its filter clogged with fuzz,
and maybe yours did, too:

we children dove for pennies,
got bored, searched the yard
for something more.

Who could find fault with children
diving for peaches on a summer morning
when the boughs were heavy
with fruit and nectar?

You scolded us while you cleaned and skimmed,
but I knew you really didn’t mind.


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.

Visiting the Hospice by Andrea Potos

Visiting the Hospice

Call it heaven already–
air of ochre light, art on the walls–
a mosaiced Balinese dancer, a cathedral of orchids.
I glimpse siderooms filled with books,
leather sofas to sink inside, windows
with green views of paths winding
somewhere I cannot see.
Along the spacious hallways,
no one hurries.
Each person who greets me
carries a stillness I long to keep.
My friend sleeps most of the day now;
at the door of his room, I pause,
knowing the safety of his passage.


Andrea Potos is author of several poetry collections, most recently Mothershell (Kelsay Books), A Stone to Carry Home (Salmon Poetry, Ireland), and Arrows of Light (Iris Press). Another collection is forthcoming in summer of 2021 entitled Marrow of Summer. She received the William Stafford Prize in Poetry, and several Outstanding Achievement Awards in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association. Her poems can be found widely in print and online. “Visiting the Hospice” is included in Potos’ collection Marrow of Summer forthcoming in June 2021 from Kelsay Books.