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Jane Vacante

Hide And Seek

I made the game

you mother me daughter

we play the same

each tries to outfox

the other

up at dawn

track the next drink down

no game for a child

in the hamper clothes piled stuck

under socks Johnny Walker

his bottle beguiled you

next my midnight search

cockroaches scatter

Bombay Gin behind the pasta

while you sleep deep

I toss it in the bin

each year you go away

respite for us both in

the 30-day stay

then the game starts anew

tear-smeared me stumbling you

more winters falls springs

at last the doctor calls

he found a very bad thing

you slowly shrink more sober

less bad mother the game


the last this the final that

at Christmas we chat

you blanket-bound

me in chenille robe

I catch your long-sought words

in my outstretched palms

friends? at least we laugh

the cancer grants

a strangely tender


One of the Wonders

The dunghill ---

that is the great pyramid of creation.

We begin with the broad base made up of every experience from childhood;

each decade accretes upward, stinking and sweet.

The structure is myth, solidity, mathematical precision--

some of us long to achieve that in life.

Then all of a sudden we arrive, unthinking, at the pointy pinnacle.

We are old, we downsize, give away sofas, soup tureens,

those precious books with the turned-down pages.

Some of us turn round and round and settle like sacred dogs

in alcoves awaiting the final sandstorm.

But you, lucky you, with your Italian leather-soled shoes,

you choose to make it easy, robes flapping, doing the fatally rapid slide

down its side.


Jane Vacante has written poetry and short fiction since the last century. Publication in several dozen literary journals, newspapers and anthologies includes Painted Bride Quarterly and Compass Points: Stories From Seacoast Authors. Her deepest enjoyment this year comes from roaming the woods in northern New Hampshire that a burgeoning population of black bears share with her.


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