Literature & Art


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Let me be the calm,

let this be the place,

let this be the center,

eye of the storm,

let it swirl all around

outside of here.

Here is the garden

maples, redbuds, and oak trees shade you

wrens, sparrows, and cardinals sing to you

scents of the blooming roses, basil, oregano, 

the damp earth itself

fill your head

fill you with peace

Let me be the calm

Let this be the place

Right here

Carol Brown

Somewhere Near the Punch Bowl at the 30-Year Class Reunion

If the football captain moves to the forest, will the cheerleader still gain weight? If you hate high school, is it easier to adjust to adult life? Do you give your kids advice or do you figure times have changed? How did I even live this long? My mother complained about being in her fifties, but she should have said something about the forties. The forties are something for you too, aren’t they?

Except you—you look exactly the same.

(Some time describing the—okay, let’s just say it: boy toy—who came on the tour of the new wing. Lisa wanted to know if that was the son, and then the PDA started.)

I learned more in college, or maybe it was the army. At any rate, geometry’s what you need, not algebra. Don’t tell that to my son. Don’t tell me about any math. And you know who I ran into? His kids are 4 and 2. I need a nap just hearing about it.

(Some sorting out of whose mother the baseball coach married and whether he’d done that more than once.)

I can’t remember the names of any of my teachers. I hardly remember anyone but I keep getting tagged on Facebook. Oh God, I was so glad when I could switch to computers. You used to have to program ’em before you could use ’em. Records! Remember records? CDs! And you couldn’t just go get another one.

(Go ’Cats.)

Remember when we used to pull all-nighters? Now I physically can’t even do it. I cannot make myself stay awake. And the noise! I know, right? Ugh, and progressives. Lasik doesn’t last, you know. You might as well get used to glasses.

(Some time calling roll: bifocals and progressives and trifocals.)

If the reunion committee doesn’t send any invites, do the alumni still come? Who was your best friend in high school? Who was your prom date? If you yank out your grey hair in the forest, would you remember algebra?

Ann Marie Gamble

When I Think of Her


There is a tilt to the world

a lilt to the world

when I think of her

the imagined daughter

I might

just have

one day

a delight ringed by a thousand sadnesses

of losses I imagine

for it is only losses

I know of mothers and daughters

divisions and divides

in flesh so alike they

can not stay separate

there is a lilt 

a tilt to the world

when I think of my mother

the imagined one I might just have

one day

bodies more alike than the great divide would suggest.

Dareth Ann Goettemoeller


My body would not give you up.

An iris slow to open

at the center of me,

softened only by hours,

in the rush of waters

narrowed again

and in the end,

on the third day,

had to be held open

for you.

You must understand if

at night I press my face

to your chest, hold

a small foot

in each of my hands.

My body aches


for the wing-flutters,

the swollen rolls,

the second pulse it knew

when it held

both of us.

Karen Pojmann

L'il Strife

How many years
since mystery disappearance 
--who knows?

in the basement
his things

his hurt glance
with twinkle of defiance
--coming off in charge

"As far as we knew you were dead!"

kilter of his belongings
stored in the laundry room

We go on a picnic to Redbrush
and there he is
living on nuts and berries

He runs at us shouting gibberish
his long dirty nails deployed
to heighten the scare

The children are not amused

I manage to coax him with a swig of water and an energy bar

His mother gets him shackled
and in the van
hauled off to Fulton

--where he becomes his old self in days 
and arrives home 
with a fine haircut.

We get married.

Liz Rieman

The Poets’ Group is an informal (until we agree on the T-shirt design) group of women who meet sporadically (every three weeks) to write and read what we’ve written. Our various work lives (and writing itself) can be isolated endeavors, and our group provides collegiality and common ground. During our meetings, we check in—about work, writing, and life—read, and write; we encourage each other’s projects and edit each other’s lines.

Carol Brown is living in Columbia, MO. She is the mother of two teenagers. She is also a writer, a fiber artist, and a seamstress. Like so many moms, her days can tend towards the hectic, but she always makes time for the poetry group. It is so much more than just a place to write, for which she is grateful. Without those women, the writing would not happen.

Ann Marie Gamble reads a lot of stuff and sometimes gets paid for it: editing is like a foodie getting a job as a restaurant reviewer. She’s usually holding the coats for the people on the field, which is a great position to find stories but not to write her own bio statement.

Dareth Ann Goettemoeller is a fine artist and art therapist with a collection of eccentric friends living in a liberal bubble amidst fields of corn, beans, grasshoppers, good old boys, jeans, and pink cowboy boots. Her favorite times are with coffee in hand, being stared at by her cats while filling yet another notebook with beautiful words of angst and love.

Karen Pojmann is a writer and editor. She has worked mostly in magazine journalism in places including New York, San Francisco and Columbia, Missouri, her current home, where she now manages a team of writers at the University of Missouri and runs a literary reading series. She has successfully raised one child to adulthood and is working on the others.

A lifelong artist and poet—originally from Austin, Texas—Elizabeth Ann Rieman received her BFA in creative writing from Stephens College in 1981, in her second hometown of Columbia, Missouri. AKA “Leona Whitecorn,” she sings and plays in the country-funk-folk-blues-flamenco-punk-rock style. A graduate of Albuquerque's New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics, Nationally Certified in Massage Therapy in 1995, Rieman is the owner of Unwind Massage Studio & Event Venue in Columbia's North Village Arts District.

Poets’ Group Selections

Carol Brown    Ann Marie Gamble    Dareth Ann Goettemoeller    Karen Pojmann    Elizabeth Ann Rieman

Selected by Monica  A. Hand

Photo Marjorie Tesser