Joyce Wilson

With My Mother-in-Law: Family Talk

She shut her eyes against the bright surroundings.
Sensing the time was right, I said I'd like
To move the dining room mahogany—
"Oh no," she said, "No changes when I'm down!"

They wheeled her to another room where she
Was scheduled for a facial MRI.
She brought her hands up to her cheeks and joked,
"I'd planned to get another facial soon."

We had a chance to talk, the first in weeks.
She asked, "Were you aware how mad he was?"
She meant her son, my husband, who, I said,
Was getting like his father, impatient Scot.

She disagreed. "Oh no, not HIS father,"
She emphasized, "but like MY father!"
I recognized her anger down so deep—
There's nothing like the Middle East for rage.

The nurse came in to stitch the several cuts
Where she had fallen forward on her face.
"I don't know how much longer I will last,"
She said, and grabbed my hand, and held it fast.

With My Mother-in-Law: Kitchen Clean-up

Her history was stored in that cupboard
Glasses, cups, and measurers were stacked
And grouped in triple rows too densely packed
For use, unless for an entire horde

Of kids and college kids and grownup kids.
Look at this ornamented pewter stein
Designed as if it's from an ancient time
When tankards were so big, and came with lids.

The pair of plastic tumblers perfect for
Pink lemonade, a picnic, once a year;
And look, your brother's high school souvenir.
What has she kept them all together for

Beside the nested plastic sippy cups,
In case the little ones might come to play?
We put these keep-sakes carefully away
Inside a bag to make space for the grownups,

A phrase that made her smile and bite her lip.
The grownup of the grownups, she was grown.
She held her favorite glass. "This is my own,"
She winked, "until I make my final trip."


Joyce Wilson has taught English at Suffolk University and Boston University. Her first poetry collection The Etymology of Spruce and a chapbook The Springhouse both appeared in 2010. Another chapbook, The Need for a Bridge, will appear in 2019. She is creator and editor of the magazine on the Internet, The Poetry Porch (www.poetryporch.com), which has been on-line since 1997. Her poems have appeared, or will appear soon, in the literary journals Alabama Literary Review, The Lyric, Salamander, and Main Street Rag.


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The most recent addition to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline is Phillis Wheatley by Kathryn Voorhees.

Kathleen McClung is the recipient of the 2019 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Morgan O'Hara:LIVE TRANSMISSIONS render visible normally invisible or fleeting movement patterns through seismograph-like drawing done in real time. The pursuit of vitality carefully observed through human activity is drawn simultaneously with both hands and transmitted to paper. Following closely the intensity of each segment of an activity, the direction of the line as well as the quality of its intensity is transmitted. If a person makes a gentle movement, a delicate line is drawn. If the action followed is forceful or violent, a correspondingly vigorous line is made. This is done simultaneously and as much as possible without “thinking." The dialectic between observer and participant, control versus relaxed participation coalesce to form the conceptual base for LIVE TRANSMISSIONS. Scale and physical limitations are determined by real-life expediency. In 2018 there exist approximately 4000 LIVE TRANSMISSION drawings done both privately and publicly on five continents. LIVE TRANSMISSIONS communicate beyond the specificity of language.

HANDWRITING THE CONSTITUTION is a social art practice which O’Hara began in January 2017. It is a process by which people come together for a specific time period to handwrite the Constitution. This practice encourages a quiet, introspective process, a form of activism for introverts. As people copy out texts which guarantee freedom and human rights, a strong sense of community is silently created. www.handwritingtheconstitution.com

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