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Poetry II

Pottery by Ed Gray

Nina Bennett


Saturday Night Fever


Two tables over, I see him slide

from his chair to the floor

like caramel poured over ice cream.

I sprint across the pub,

tilt his chin to open his airway. His friends

form a protective chain around us

as I crouch on the worn wooden planks,

trace across his ribs to the sternal notch.

I clasp my hands, left on top of right,

fingers laced, wrist flexed to maximize force.

Whether you’re a brother

or whether you’re a mother,

you’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive, I chant,

pump in rhythm, 103 beats a minute,

verse after verse, until the paramedics arrive.


I boogie back to my table. Our waiter

brings another margarita, manager

replaces our cold nachos. My friends

chat about the Bee Gees. I don’t mention

that this song destroyed their career,

Maurice died of a heart attack

26 years after its release, or that the other

song with a beat perfect for chest compressions

is Another One Bites the Dust.





Luck of the Draw


For three days we bonded at work,

united by dreams of vacations, cars,

retirement. Hope was palpable,

as easily measured as our patients’

blood pressure. The man in 410 died.

We checked Powerball tickets, released

held breath when there was no 4, 10, 41.

I slept through this lottery drawing,


unlike 1971, when I concentrated on the TV

with the intensity I now devote to bedside monitors.

The announcer’s hand dipped into the sea

of blue capsules the way we dove like otters

that summer, into the deep end of the pool,

certain that if we collected all the neon-colored

wands from the bottom, he wouldn’t

go to Vietnam.



Nina Bennett is the author of Forgotten Tears A Grandmother’s Journey Through Grief. In 2006, she was selected to attend the Delaware Division of the Arts Masters' Workshop in poetry. Nina’s poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies including Drash: Northwest Mosaic, Pulse, Alehouse, Panache, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, The Smoking Poet, Oranges & Sardines, Philadelphia Stories, Pirene’s Fountain, The Broadkill Review, Slow Trains Literary Journal, Spaces Between Us: Poetry, Prose and Art on HIV/AIDS  and Mourning Sickness. Nina is a contributing author to the Open to Hope Foundation.


Rachel McConnell


The Confessions of a Maenad


I do not remember

Dancing with Dionysus last night,

But the evidence is here:

An emerald bottle, decorated with antlers—



The taste of smoke

Floating out of my lungs,

Clouding my breath.

My tongue is brown and tingling with licorice.

Horns wrapped in ivy are tangled in my hair.


Pentheus lies on my couch in pieces.

His severed head tells me that I tore his limbs off.

He lies there emasculated,

Braiding tendons back together.

He says that,


With lacquered eyes,

I kissed the lips of a toilet,

And caressed her porcelain skin,

But I have no memory of these things.

I have only a gray shadow drinking from the river Lethe. 


That shadow winds through my intestines

Like grapes crushed beneath soiled feet.

It is as quiet as a white seed floating in a watermelon,

And as delicate as the soft bleached hairs of a woman’s face.

It does not wish to be seen.


It is a hook that separates my lips,

And spews acid from them.

I cannot be blamed for things I’ll never remember.

I could say that I once loved Pentheus,

But maenads kiss with their teeth.



Rachel McConnell received her B.A. in English from Eastern Kentucky University in May of 2011, with a concentration in creative writing.

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