When I got married, my friend
got me a gift certificate to Williams & Sonoma.
I used it to buy a butter dish, a bread knife,
and some fancy cheese I didn’t end up liking.
Two years later, she jumped
off a bridge in Boston into the Mystic River.
A few years later, my husband broke
the handle off the butter dish,
and then he left me, too. He didn’t break
the butter dish on purpose, but I think about it
all the time—the way he used Gorilla Glue
to put the knob back on after I threw
myself on the kitchen floor, crying.
It’s just a butter dish, he said, and he wasn’t wrong,
I guess, but he was. If it’s stupid
to have an emotional attachment
to a butter dish, that’s okay.
But I’ve loved it longer
than my husband could love me,
and I’ll let you decide what that means.


Brett Elizabeth Jenkins lives and writes in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Look for her work in The Sun, Beloit Poetry Journal, AGNI, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere.

Two Poems by Sharon Charde


I think that a lot of girls and young women have this yearning
that is part desire to have a man and part desire to be him
–Rebecca Solnit

Light comes and goes in the story of us.
Out here in Wyoming, the deer are different

and I don’t know the names of the birds,
but I do know I am happy without you.

This landscape forgives me my sins, too huge
for them to matter though someone has hung

skulls on the cottonwoods, path by the creek
I walk every day. But soon I will return to our

bed and the dog, the Amazon packages, the dead
dahlias. We’ve been assigned to each other,

you said marriage was a one-way ticket
with no transfers, remember? That throng

of fantasies we shared, a plunder. You try
to teach me mortal lessons, I walk ahead

of you, believing I have no need of salvation.
But when I can’t open a jar or figure out why

my car won’t start, I immediately imagine
what life would be like as a widow. Things

seem so singular out here but then I see sheep
flocked, birds charging each other in the wide sky,

think how necessary it is to belong somewhere,
how I belong to you.



enough of blackbirds, bluebirds, sparrows, the pricey seeds
my husband fills feeders with, enough of the squirrels
and mice that eat them instead, enough of falling in love
and out, of what got us here, what will get us elsewhere,
enough of his leg, my back, lost friends, lost minds, enough
of me me me poor me, the dead mother, the never-enough
girl, our country ‘tis of thee, purple mountains and fruited
plains, graphs and shootings, rising seas and men in suits,
stupid hope, confines of the body, murkiness of the soul,
forecasts of snow, detachment and prognosis, the night
between us, the absence of you.


Sharon Charde practiced family therapy for twenty-five years as a licensed professional counselor, and has led writing groups for women since 1992. She has won numerous poetry awards, has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies, and has been nominate seven times for the Pushcart award. The BBC adapted her work for an hour-long radio broadcast in June 2012, and she has seven published collections of poetry, the latest in September 2021, “The Glass is Already Broken,” from Blue Light Press.

From 1999 to 2016, she volunteered at a residential treatment facility teaching poetry to adjudicated young women, creating a collaborative group with a local private school for eleven of those years, and her memoir about that work, “I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent,” was published by Mango in 2020. Charde has been awarded fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, MacDowell, Ucross Foundation and The Corporation of Yaddo. She lives in Lakeville, Connecticut with her husband John.

Breadwinner by Nancy K. Dobson


Our last married winter I unwrap the good soaps,
Lemongrass, Cedarwood, and finally, Mint.
Inhaling the essence of each bar, I reimagine an aromatic feast
at our secondhand dinner table,
flash on a bouquet from a sunny mountain hike,
the perfume of a long flight home, me asleep on your shoulder,
or the tang of you in the doorway
after cleaning the gutters under lightning
in a raincoat and battered shoes.
Pale images that have dissipated
like a dried sachet in a dresser drawer.
I thumb through the day’s mail,
stack the bills under the first picture
I hung in our entry way,
a black and white line drawing of a heart
divided into tidy spaces and segments.
I study that geometric illusion and wonder
what I will do when I reach the center
of my own construction
and discover your scent has long since vanished.


Nancy K. Dobson’s writing, both fiction and poetry, has been published in a variety of publications including Madcap Review, Quince, Variety Pack, and more, and is forthcoming in Blue Moon Literary & Art Review. Her poetry has won a few prizes. A former teacher, she’s on Twitter @nancy_dobson.