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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Mary Mercier
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Joyce Wilson
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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.

Megan Marlatt:Looking like large puppet heads, it was "anima", the root of "animation", that led me to the making of the big heads, (or "capgrossos" as they are called in Catalonia where I learned the craft.) Anima is the soul or what breathes life into a being and to animate an inanimate object, an artist must insert a little soul into it. However to bring attention to what is invisible, (the soul), I chose to mold its opposite in solid form: the persona, the ego, the big head, the mask. Nearly every culture across the globe has masks. They allow performers to climb into the skin of another being and witness the other's world from behind their eyes. While doing so, the mask erases all clues of the performer's age, gender, species or race. In this regard, I find them to be the most transformative and empathic of all human artifacts.

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