This Open Window: Vol. 6 No. 4

Poetry and Prose by Local Writers

Poetry and Prose by Local Writers
Edited by Jim Mitsui


Seven. p.m. and the Sun Has Set

It is October 25th, 2018
I sit beside my mother’s bed
and whisper in her ear
Dust collects on the vanity tray holding some jewelry
and a small picture of my father in his GI uniform

What an old woman my mother has become
and does she even know that I’m here?

Butter-colored is the silk pillow on her leather chair
The voice in my head
sounds like her voice singing “Beautiful Dreamer”
while the vacuum whines a counterpoint

A rumor insists that we are all dying even though
somewhere in the world love is being renewed,
reckless and fresh as the wind

I am witnessing a fragility that is almost unbearable
while in my memory she sits beside my bed,
brings me ginger ale and consommé (she calls it such)
My fever moves the walls in and out like bellows 

— Amy Craven, May 22 (my father’s birthday), 2021

Amy spent her first 40 years on the East Coast and the past 26 on the West Coast. She loves birds, dogs and music. Writing has become key in her life for the past six years.


On Buying a Bra

It seems technology has failed us
knowledge advances yet you cannot
buy shoelaces that stay tied
unless they fuse and have to be cut off

I just bought some underpants
3 sizes larger this time — I didnít change
these are the same size as the old ones
when I hold them together — cut wrong to boot

I’ve long sought a perfect bra, now I’ll settle
for one that doesn’t leave welts on my ribs
or grooves in my shoulders, or uniboob
so I look like I’ve a pillow in my shirt

No more “lift and separate” — these days only jammed together
cleavage so over-warm you could fry an egg
walking to the mailbox on a sunny day
so little support your chest whirls away when you turn around

In the ’70s a physicist built a bra
using sound engineering to create support
they were beautiful and felt so good, felt pretty, too.
But they fell out of style. And my endless search began

Nowadays you can only find a comfortable bra
if you don’t really need to wear one anyhow
For us, old women warriors not yet quite ready
to tuck the offending girls into our belts 

the perfect bra is the holy grail
forever out of reach. My ill-fitting underpants
ride up my butt and the wayward assets smack me in the eye
each time I bend to retie my unstrung shoes.

 Maureen Cooper, April 23, 2021

Maureen is originally from Minnesota; she has an excellent sense of humor as this poem shows us.


Mud And Rain

I cut through the walls of ruts in front of my garage
move wet piles of soil alongside the new rills to control
where water goes. I’d like this to be spring, but March

came in like a lamb, so the lion’s still to appear. Just like
spring, mud’s everywhere. My deep frozen footprints
from last thaw fill with rain I release like the ruts,

put boards down over the muddiest parts of the path
to the chicken coop. It all helps. But sometimes you
just have to slog through the mud. Life.

— Jeanette Schandelmeier

On a Hill in Itaru Sasaki’s Garden

stands an elegant white phone booth
   — connected to nothing.

Here a man who lost his wife to the tsunami dials
her cell phone and cries,
tells her how much he misses her.

A woman comes here to call her missing husband,
says she’s so lonely, asks
      him to watch over their family.

Now thousands come from all over Japan
   to call lost lovers and relatives—
on the phone of the wind

— Jeanette Schandelmeier, May 2021

A retired teacher, Jeanette grew up on a homestead in Alaska. She has a gift of writing poems that make us think beyond the words on the page.


The Monster in the Corner 3/24/21

In the darkened room an
even denser form hunches
behind a chair. I close my
eyes, but then open them
suddenly — trying to catch the
creature moving. But
it is still — waiting,
waiting for me to fall
asleep — then it will pounce!
Hour after hour I struggle to
stay awake, giving in just
before dawn when
sunlight arrives to reveal
the sinister shape of my bathrobe
tossed over the chair.

— Brenda Hammond

Brenda Hammond has lived in North Idaho since 1987 and is a mental health therapist practicing in Sandpoint. She is currently the president of the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force and has served on the board for more than 20 years.




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