September 23, 2023

Ziqr Peehu (age 10)


My mother says
Her dog visited her in her dream,
The night it died. Death is a tragedy till you can’t go back. Till you can’t go forward
I am not a spiritual person but
I wish to touch my mother in her dream
The night I die too.
My mother tells me she used to be like me
She’d look at god and she’d look at faith
And she’d spit on it. She’d spit on it in a way that it disintegrates
Like she was hurtling acid.
She says it’s inevitable though, receiving faith.
In Hindi, you don’t have an enlightenment,
It’s something that happens to you.
In Hindi, you don’t become religious, don’t believe in a god,
You go in it. Within it.
You succumb to it.
In Hindi, it’s inevitable.
No wonder, I’ve always preferred English.
My mother knew her dog died before anyone ever told her.
My mother knew her grandmother died before the doctors told us.
My grandmother says, my mother is prone to these things.
That god chose her well and special and made her more sensitive to it.
My grandmother doesn’t say that god forsook me.
He did.
My mother knows when people die because they all visit her.
All of them.
My dog died with her face in my mother’s hands, cupped just as so.
Her dog died and came to visit her.
People do not die on my mother because she does not let them.
My mother was touched by god and in turn she touches everyone around her
She leaves us all connected to god, all of us and then we are forced to visit her when we die.
We all touch my mother when we die.
She wouldn’t have it otherwise.

from 2023 Rattle Young Poets Anthology

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September 22, 2023

Frank Beltrano


Boy, I could
Be in trouble.
Before I left
By myself to go grocery shopping, we
Built a list of what we need
But on the way to
Buy it all I
Blundered, lost the list, don’t want to go
Back, admit my error
Besides it would
Be a waste of time.
Believe it or not, I remember everything, not a
Billion items and all
Began with a
“B”. First up 
Bacon enough for four sandwiches. You won’t have more than that, too fat.
Bananas and
Bagels for
Brussel sprouts
Because we 
Both love your special recipe.
Boil them a
Bit. Add chili peppers, soy sauce.
Both almond and dairy, salted and not. Hot
Barbequed chicken
Blue cheese cuz it pleases you
Black Diamond slices for me
Brie for
Both of us. A
Brick of ice cream
Blueberry pie, not sugar or pecan
Because all the sugar reminds me
Brown sugar, and 
Brown eggs from happy chickens
Barn-raised maybe
But also free to range
But, am I forgetting something. Ah! A
Broom. Not 
Big, small, more a whisk with matching
Black dustpan to sweep up
Bread crumbs and sesame
Bagel seeds from the floor. What’s more
Bags for the vacuum cleaner
But, finally, not on the list
Beautiful cut flowers, something we’ve missed. 
Prompt: “A Two Sylvias Press prompt, entitled, ‘Make a list, baby!’”


from Rattle #81, Fall 2023
Tribute to Prompt Poems


Frank Beltrano: “Over the past couple of years I have probably written over 200 poems to prompts. I particularly love Peter Murphy prompts and prompts written by Two Sylvias Press. It’s not because I have a shortage of imagination or inspiration. I find that a prompt gives focus, and the more demanding the prompt the more rewarding the result. Also I imagine the writer of the prompt is listening, wants their curiosity answered, and becomes the person to whom the poem is written.” 

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