Issue 72 — 

Jacqueline Jules (ArLiJo #72)
Merrill Leffler (ArLiJo #72)

Jacqueline Jules

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 72


A milestone birthday approaches,
and my husband asks what I fancy.
A gold bracelet perhaps?
Diamonds? Pearls?

My pirate heart has one desire.


altered by alchemy
into a commodity like coins
to clink one by one
into a strongbox,
hide under the floorboards,
protect from thieves.


I can count and caress
late at night
when my fingers itch
with all they have yet to hold.

Copyright © 2014 by Jacqueline Jules.

Pedaling Truth

The longer I ride,
the less stable
truth becomes.

Blind bats and
mice preferring
cheese to chocolate
have been debunked
along with chopped earthworms
that grow again from two halves
and mothers who raise children
immune to disappointment,
illness, and grief.

Too much of what
I once pedaled faithfully
is now a flat tire
on a rusted bicycle.

Searching for other myths
to keep my wheels inflated
I find comfort in the hum
of spinning spokes,

reminding me
that what hurts now
may not always be my truth.

Copyright © 2014 by Jacqueline Jules.

Jacqueline Jules is the author of the poetry chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press) and Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications). Her poetry has appeared in over 100 publications including ArLiJo, Poetic Voices Without Borders, and Gargoyle. She is the author of thirty books for young readers. Visit
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Merrill Leffler

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 72


  In memory of William Stafford

This morning I'll skip the bacon

and eggs and have a poem over light —

two or three if you don't mind.

I feel my appetite coming on.

And even a stack of flapjacks

which I love — with butter

and boysenberry jam spreading

their fingers of sweetness over

the ragged edges — won't do me now.

When this hunger's on, only a poem

will do, one that will surprise my need

like a stranger knocking

at the door (a small knock — at first,

I hardly hear it) to ask directions,

it turns out, to this house. He's looking

for me. Who are you I ask? Your brother

he says, the one you never knew you had

or the one who you've been trying to remember

all your life but somehow couldn't recall

until now, when he arrives. And there he is

before me smiling, holding out his arms

— and all this by chance. Do you

believe it?

   So serve me up a poem friend,

but just go easy on the tropes,

for instance, synecdoche and such. A simile

or two is fine and metaphor's all right.

A rhyming quatrain, maybe on the side

would be ok, but not too much —

they sometimes give me gas.

God I love a breakfast such as this.

It gives me a running start and keeps me going

through to dark when I'm as hungry as a horse.

But that's another poem. Let's eat.

Copyright © 2012 by Merrill Leffler. Reprinted by permission of Dryad Press.

Merrill Leffler, currently Poet Laureate of Takoma Park, Maryland, is the author of Mark the Music, his most recent book. He has been active in the literary life of the Washington area as a publisher and teacher for more than forty years.