phren-z header logo
SCW Logo

Alison Parham

Current Issue
Archived Issues
J. Zimmerman

On the Cusp
by Patricia J. Machmiller and J. Zimmerman

after the accident
the nurse who woke me said
to your second life"--she
didn't know it was my third           

in the pottery shards
fossilized energy
of long-ago hands
passing the jug of summer wine
inflected with flower petals            

blue hydrangea
last year's gift
from her garden to mine
this spring blooms pink                  

the slenderest
of mauve-scented moons
over the ikebana
the leap of the ballerina                   

at night the trees huddle
murmuring among themselves
but at dawn
they emerge, each singular
and exuberant as a coronation  


Italicized stanzas were written by J. Zimmerman, regular stanzas written by Patricia J. Machmiller.

Ah, Morelia

Although she hallucinates, it's Casilda I most admire. She talks back to her dead mother, who is also (this is a telenovela) her godmother. After three seasons of woe with an increasingly rich and abusive husband, Casilda runs away with a truck driver who adores her. They load his cargo trailer with box after box of not-yet-laundered pesos that Casilda's husband is about to grieve for. Then they add the villainess of the whole series, the woman whose deceptions, betrayals, and murders have pushed Casilda toward lunacy. In the locked trailer the villainess excitedly unpacks the money.

the pressure
of light
on ripening apples
until one by one
they fall

The trucker drives them far off the highway into lonesome country where he backs up into a thicket of desert thorns. He and Casilda detach the trailer, abandoning the villainess and the pesos to run out of oxygen and water under the ascending sun. As they drive away, Casilda asks the trucker if money is the most important thing. He grins "no" while she laughs, throwing thousand-peso notes out of her window. And there! in the dusty verge of the roadside stands Casilda's year-dead mother-godmother in a prim white suit, smiling as they pass, everyone waving adios, goodbye, adios.

the golden-pink clouds
of a big-sky sunset
shining on our cheeks
if I knew better I might
call it the Rapture


Inspired in part by Amarte es mi pecado, a 2004 Mexican telenovela.
Second-place winner in the first-ever tanka prose contest by the Tanka Society of America, and published at their web site:

J.  ZIMMERMAN – “emerged” as a haiku poet in the 2013 New Resonances haiku anthology. Her work is published in Runes, Quarry West, Reed, Convergence, Watershed, At Our Core, Coast Lines and elsewhere. She won the Mary Lonnberg Smith Poetry Prize, co-edits Ariadne’s Poetry Web, and writes articles on Japanese poetry forms.

In Celebration of the Muse
Brianna Barreto
Donna Becker
Deborah Bryant
Ruth Elliott
Susan Freeman
Patricia Grube
Diane Dobrin Grunes
Geneffa Popatia Jonker
Sylvia Patience
Jennifer Pittman
Bernice Rendrick
Dena Taylor
Louise Thornton
Patrice Vecchione
Renee Winter
J. Zimmerman

Rosie King for Tilly Shaw

Barbara Bloom for Joan Safajek

Featured Artist
Alison Parham


  Current Issue/Home || Archive || FloodLight || About || Submit || Contact
Copyright © 2011 Santa Cruz Writes - All Rights Reserved