Paulette Turco


She lay in state. No one can take her place.
Her favorite jabot, white, of hand-made lace
expressed her honor of her mother’s gentle
wisdom—be a lady. Incremental
changes to the law for every case

was her guide. She spoke with skill and grace
across her long career: her steady pace
led women’s gains that were not accidental.
She lay in state.

Conservative, the court may now erase
the rights she won for us at home and workplace.
Her jabots were so far from ornamental,
her influence now intercontinental
as heroine of justice we embrace.
She lay in state.

Emmett Till on July 25, 2020

The 2020 Congress failed for the 200th time to pass a Federal Law against lynching.

If fourteen year-old Emmett Till hadn’t suffered from stuttering;
if Emmett’s mom hadn’t taught him to whistle when he stuttered;
if Emmett hadn’t traveled from Chicago to visit his grandfather;
if Emmett’s grandfather hadn’t lived in Money, Mississippi;
if Emmett hadn’t been so happy to be with his two cousins;
if Emmett hadn’t skipped church that Sunday to buy a soda at Bryant’s;
if Emmett’s cousins could have taken him back to his home in Chicago;
if Emmett hadn’t been pulled from bed at his grandfather’s house
    that night;
if Emmett’s screams had been heard when he was bludgeoned
    in that barn;
if Carolyn Bryant, the cashier in that store, had told the truth;

Emmett’s face and head and trunk wouldn’t have been pummeled
    for hours;
Emmett might still have his nose, his teeth, both eyes, his chin,
    both ears;
Emmett’s body wouldn’t have been bloated in the Tallahatchie River;
Emmett might be celebrating his 79th birthday.


Paulette Demers Turco, editor of The Powow River Poets Anthology II (Able Muse Press, January 2021), a Powow River Poet since 2018, co-organizes the bimonthly Powow Reading Series. Her poetry appears in The Lyric, Ibbetson Street, The Poetry Porch, Quill & Parchment, Poems for Plovers (chapbook, Hawk & Whippoorwill, 2020), 2020 Hippocrates Awards Anthology, and Merrimac Mic Anthologies II-V. Her chapbook, In Silence, was published by Finishing Line Press, 2018. Awards include: Robert Frost Poetry Award; First Prize, Rockport Ekphrastic Poetry Contest; Lesley University MFA in Writing President’s Award. She holds an MFA from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. Retired from academic and clinical optometry, she draws, paints, and lives in Newburyport, MA.


Hilary Biehl
Judith Grey
Mureall Hebert
Jen Karetnick
E. R. Lutken
Marjorie Maddox
Diane Lee Moomey
Samantha Pious
Barbara Sabol
Wendy Sloan
Myrna Stone
J. C. Todd
Paulette Turco
Elaine Wilburt
Joyce Wilson


This issue of Mezzo Cammin is also dedicated to its Founder and Managing Editor for 15 years, Dr. Kim Bridgford (1959-2020). [Photo: Marion Ettinger].

The 2021 Poetry by the Sea conference was canceled due to COVID-19. The next conference is planned for May 24-27 2022.

Nicole Michaud: Throughout history, both women and fruit have been popular and enduring subjects for paintings. Women are referred to as the earth in which man plants a formed seed, distancing women from their capacity as creator. Rather, women engaging in procreation utilize the male 'pollen' to create and grow the embryonic seed of future generations.

From the Nariphon of Buddhist mythology (literal fruits shaped as women's bodies and absent bones) growing from the Makkaliphon tree, to the pomegranate of Greek mythology and the apple (or fig) of Judeo-Christian writings, women and fruit have been inextricably linked for millennia. Fruit is the basis of the temptation and fall from grace of Adam and Eve in the Bible, and serves as a treacherous precursor to conflict in mythologies such as the Greek golden apple's role in beginning the Trojan War. Women's bodies and body parts are often compared to apples, pears, melons, lemons, and other fruit. This association and dehumanization of women has facilitated an enduring mistreatment, ownership, and underestimation of capacity.

Inside, transformations are happening.

32 Poems
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