Maeve by William Palmer


She is wrapped
in a blanket with a blue glow
under her

to reduce her jaundice,
backlit like a small bough
on a Christmas tree.

My son changes her,
then lays her tenderly
in the curve of my arm.

She wears only a diaper,
her cord above it
hardened dark.

As I speak to her, her eyes move
on me, her tiny lips pushing out
in perfect circles, as if kissing air.

I touch her ruddy feet,
skim the soft skin
of her chest and cheeks.

I have forgotten
how my son felt newborn,
as if that part of me had fallen off.

Just a year ago,
my darkness black,
I thought of leaving.

And here, now,
I am holding Maeve,
her name Irish for joy.


William Palmer’s poetry has appeared recently in Braided Way, Innisfree, JAMA, J Journal, One Art, On the Seawall, Poetry East, Sheila-Na-Gig, and The Westchester Review. A retired professor of English at Alma College, he lives in Traverse City, Michigan.

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel by Howie Good

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel

After 30 minutes of Christmas music, the high school choir broke into the Hanukkah song “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” at the holiday concert. The person seated beside me began to complain under her breath. Jesus Fucking Christ! I thought. I examined her out of the corner of my eye. She wasn’t an obvious Nazi. Somewhere in her fifties, she was trying hard to look younger, a frosted blonde with the sharp features of the obsessive dieter. I didn’t say anything, though I might have let out a sigh. The song changed to something Christmassy. I focused on my daughter up on stage. She was heedlessly singing, her face all alight.


Howie Good’s latest poetry books are The Horse Were Beautiful, available from Grey Book Press, and Swimming in Oblivion: New and Selected Poems from Redhawk Publications.

What I Want for Christmas by Luke Stromberg

What I Want for Christmas

One of those women who jump out of cakes.

She would be scandalously young, preferably—
twenty-one or twenty-two—
And—what the hell—let’s make her a blond,
one that looks good
in a white bikini bottom
and has a flat tummy.
That’d work.

Nah. Not really.

I wouldn’t know what to do with her.
We’d probably end up friends.
She would look up to me.
Later, she’d introduce me to her boyfriend, Kyle.
He’d be a guy in a sleeveless t-shirt
who likes to call me ‘Bro.’
Most likely he’d look up to me, too.

How about a swordfish, then,
or one of those big, goofy moose heads
to mount on the wall above my fireplace?
But I actually don’t have a fireplace—
so one of those, too.
And some logs to burn in my fireplace.
And a velvet jacket and a mug of grog.
And a high-backed leather chair to drink my grog in.

A Model-T Ford.
A scarf, a pair of gloves, some goggles.
A submarine.
A fleet of bicyclists.
A typewriter
possessed by the soul of an alcoholic playwright.

Or someone I could talk to.
(The nights are long and dark this time of year.)

Someone who makes me laugh, who finds
something debonair about a man in glasses.
She could have red hair and smooth skin, too,
the whitest teeth,
a way of sighing to herself
she probably doesn’t even know about.

There’s a good movie playing downtown.
Maybe she’d like to go.


Luke Stromberg’s debut poetry collection, The Elephant’s Mouth, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. His poetry and criticism have appeared in Smartish Pace, The Hopkins Review, The New Criterion, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Golidad Review, Think Journal, The Raintown Review, The Dark Horse, Cassandra Voices, and several other venues. He also serves as the Associate Poetry Editor of E-Verse Radio. Luke works as an adjunct professor at Eastern University and La Salle University and lives in Upper Darby, PA.