Janice D. Soderling

Talking to Herself

With tiny hands, they keep me company,
those who never were and those who were
but are no more. Name the first, when I
was but a child myself, and lucky too,
that this small clot declined to climb the steps
into its life. Then name the second, mourned
by none but me who loved its father well.
Too well. I sent it packing, and he me.
Some are the ghosts of men and women grown
who once were my delight but now are full
of pride and arrogance and they are schooled
in finer manners than I've ever had.
And none says ma. They call me she and her.
They talk among themselves of homes and cost
and not quite right and talking to herself.

The Magnificent Cathedral of St. Nicholas

We're in a taxi, we're in Nice, we're on our way
to mightily begawk the great Cathedral of St. Nick.
And our young driver looks at us by looking in his
rear view mirror, asks where are we from. And we
are in a good mood, spirits high, oh, yes, for many
reasons: one, we are in Nice; two, the sun is shining;
three, we're fairly hale and hearty; four, our youth
was not auspicious, still we're here, still here, though
soon three score and ten; and tucked among the other
vital numbers in our lives, we can afford to take this
taxi all the way to see the famed cathedral of St. Nick.

Yes, we are in a good mood, on a high, because our
two paths, once diverged, have crossed again and
maybe this is love and maybe not, we know a lot and
nothing about love, like many folks our age when they
have seen a lot of things, but never yet the splendid
Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nick. And our
young driver compliments my hat, très chic, and tells
us that his chère grand-mère was crowned Miss France
in 1923, and over there is where the famous Elton John
has built a home, but isn't there so often. We drive on
to see the onion-domed cupolas of St. Nick.

And turning off the Boulevard du Tzarewitch,
he grinds us to a stop in flying gravel. There it is,
in solid brick and gold to celebrate the past, and as
we pay, the driver tells us how he, when he was young
(and we smile inwardly at that), once had a wish to
see the world, and so set forth, but all he saw was
what he'd seen at home, so he came home, came
back again to Nice and never planned to leave again,
merci, he hoped the weather held throughout our
stay in France and that we would enjoy our day at
the magnifique cathedral of St. Nick.


Janice D. Soderling is an award-winning writer whose poetry is scheduled at Anon, Other Poetry; Blue Unicorn; and the following online sites: Innisfree Poetry Journal, Right Hand Pointing, and Umbrella. Other poems are available online at Apple Valley Review, Autumn Sky Poetry, Babel Fruit, The Barefoot Muse, Beloit Poetry Journal, Loch Raven Review, and Lucid Rhythms. Her fiction has appeared in print in Glimmer Train, The Fiddlehead, and Acumen; online at 42opus, Our Stories, Cezanne's Carrot and Word Riot. Recent translations are in The Chimaera.


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Jane Sutherland: I choose subjects that I cherish, or that spring from deep rooted feelings, or that come to me intuitively--dogs, roses, cranes, an iconic work of sculpture; and I concentrate on the details and slightest disparities in color, tone and textures in order to show how extraordinary are things we think we know and take for granted. The process of painting for me is connected to the physical properties of the subject as well as to its meanings, associations, and memories.
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