Three Poems by Michelle Hendrixson-Miller

As If I Could Warn You, As If It Would Change Things

After 50, like before, you worry
about your body, but more

about its disappearance. You swear,
at some point, you hear

the vibration of the male gaze choke
and shut off like a fan in the night.

You think I’ll get used to that. Besides
every negative mammogram feels

like a winning ticket. A near-miss
you commemorate with sex.

Sex won’t feel the same, but you
suck it up. Every pressure, pull, slip, release

might be the last. Up late,
in the mirror, in moonlight,

you’ll catch your mother’s face.
Remember, you thought her silly.

In her hospital bed, barely able to sip water,
how she gestured and whispered,

insistent that you
draw her eyebrows, find her lipstick.


What I Understood About Being a Milk-Carton Kid, Before there were Milk-Carton Kids

I slept in a pink bedroom
in a princess bed,
with my cousin Juanita I’d only just met.

An older girl. Her body a mountain range
with the setting sun
of the nightlight behind it.

I thought living in the south meant
learning to be okay
with cockroaches — everywhere.

Medjool dates with legs.
I’d watch some, the size of beads
make a serrated line up the wall beside the toilet.

Dad said it was child-napping, not kidnapping
because he was our father, and we went willingly.

My brother left me alone. Our other cousin,
a blond boy his age became his friend.

I owned two pairs of jeans. I liked
the way my butt looked in my Mavericks—
M’s stitched on the back pockets like my name.

There were plenty of books to read.
And I was warm.

No one hurt me there, or tried to
wish me away.

Gladly, I bowed my head to offer thanks
when all the meals were served.


October Eclipse

Blackbirds, like shiny boxes, peck the grass.
Sun falls through the kitchen glass and makes fog.

Yesterday, you said the azalea leaves are dry as crisps,
fish bones rattling in the wind.

The squirrels are frantic in wet trees now. Their mouths full
of walnuts fat as hearts turned hard and brown.

Tonight, you’ll be Father Time. I’ll be Mother Earth,
a wreath of plastic flowers in my hair.

November will round the corner soon enough,
like a dark carnival or flood.

For now, though, wet leaves and sun mango the light.
And we are still part young.


Michelle Hendrixson-Miller received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, where she served as poetry editor of Qu Literary Magazine. Her poems have appeared in Thrush, One, Josephine Quarterly, Poems and Plays, The Moth, Adirondack Review, Still, The Fourth River, Harbor Review, Mudfish, The Museum of Americana,2River View, and others.

October by Tyler Michael Jacobs


This sky is sleeping
Except the light on the walls. I want to feel
The way light ribbons across rays
Of New England asters and swaths of goldenrod.
A field of crisp air forgives me for wanting
To drape myself in birdsong. Now,
I want to feel something, anything.
If every slender wrist has felt a thumb
Slip back and forth, to love like autumn
Cruels a room
Only feels like enough.
How tender this falling:
A leaf feels it has been falling headfirst
Its entire life. The trees hold the wind
While there is still time.
Had I been this joy,
Maybe I could have loved myself too.
A bee keeps returning in full sun
as if to share in something so sweet, and I let it
Rest on the rim of my beer glass.


Tyler Michael Jacobs is the author of Building Brownville (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2022). His words have appeared in Pidgeonholes, Sierra Nevada Review, Thin Air Magazine, White Wall Review, Funicular Magazine, and elsewhere. His poems have also been featured on Nebraska Public Media’s Friday LIVE! He is a first-year poetry MFA candidate at Bowling Green State University.

October Now by Weslea Sidon

October Now

The sky is bright, the air is warm
the sun is still on my side,
the promises the garden made in June
came true, mostly, at least they put the energy out.
It takes a lot to grow into something useful.

Now for the pulling and the picking up,
stacking litter, piling weeds,
finding lost trowels.
It is easy to get lost here
to hide from the work at hand.
Take one more peek beneath the grape vine
begin to coil the hose.


Weslea Sidon is a poet and musician living in West Tremont, Maine. Her poems have appeared in several literary publications and anthologies, most recently Paumanok Transition. She is the author of The Fool Sings, published by Rain Chain Press.