» Poetry

Cool Side of the Pillow

Have you ever heard the sound of a screen door

closing old-timer slow?—Inching madness to the edge

of its seat?— Think of shoes on the wrong feet.

And how fingernails scratch the chalkboard

to test your impulses.  When the dog shits

in the house, and the house isn’t yours.

Lost keys. Bad haircut. Bad ink. Bad poem.

Broken tooth. Ulcer. Speeding ticket.

Bad job. Foreclosure. Your ovaries tied.

Boyfriend sexting someone else.

Your kid hates you. Your dying friend has

no insurance policy. You’re addicted to soap.

Boss screaming down your throat.

You burnt the turkey. Is it worth mentioning,

that moss has no roots?— We know something

has been tampered with, when the seal

is broken.  Only one thing to do, don’t surrender,

turn over your armor, dream a little dream.



Cynthia Atkins

Cynthia Atkins (she/her) is the author of Psyche’s Weathers, In The Event of Full Disclosure (CW Books), and Still-Life With God (Saint Julian Press 2020), and a chapbook forthcoming from Harbor Editions, 2022. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Anti- Heroin Chic, BOMB, Cider Press Review, Diode, Green Mountains Review, Indianapolis Review, Los Angeles Review, Rust + Moth, North American Review, Permafrost, SWWIM, Thrush, Tinderbox, and Verse Daily. Formerly, Atkins worked as the assistant director for the Poetry Society of America, and has taught English and Creative Writing, most recently at Blue Ridge Community College. She earned her MFA from Columbia University and has earned fellowships and prizes from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Writer’s Voice, and Writers@Work. Atkins lives on the Maury River of Rockbridge County, Virginia, with artist, Phillip Welch and their family. More work and info at: www.cynthiaatkins.com