"This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." - Dorothy Parker


A little lady, who looks

as crumpled as the few

tattered bills in the old wallet

she clutches,


a pint of gin,

cigarettes, and

three gossip papers.

Nearsighted, she squints at the receipt,

fumbles, scattering bits of torn paper coupons,

then hands the cashier the bills;

Probably first-of-the-month money.

She’s looked forward to this evening.

There was a week of macaroni and beans

to make the budget stretch.

This is her celebration.

The Social Security check has come!

Tonight, alone with her gin

and cheap gossip

she’ll try to join a world

that has forgotten her.

Sermons in Stones

A monumental marble god

an altar adorned with gold

a cathedral that took one hundred years

to realize are magnificent,

but awesome as they are

the found art, treasures

of a summer day long past

is more wonderful.

We walk, wade a stream

bend to choose stones

whose subtle blues and greens

echo the deep sky, lush grass yearning

toward the distant mountains.

A stone, bright as a poppy

shouts red on the sandy bottom,

glows through water clear as glass,

a bold display among the gray and brown.

The stones, edges worn smooth

tumbled in the turbulent stream,

entice our fingers.

Thumbs rub their gentle curves.

I wonder that these ancient stones,

long torn from a mountain’s side

their beauty bred in turmoil,

now quiescent in my palm,

can soothe a restless mind,

celebrate a lovely day.

Phyllis Van Buskirk