Mary Romero

Penelope and Echo

The suitors keep insisting it is time
to choose, but I refuse to turn into a lonely
echo, breathing only borrowed
sound, surrounded solely by something
to mimic.

      By my fingers, this loom comes alive:
each lilting, familiar stich raveled
and unraveled each night, to slowly
weave the hours—a tapestry going nowhere,
except perhaps to inch towards
impertinence, a kind of quiet
resistance. My triumph is failing
to complete anything. Why
do I keep weaving this history
when in the dark each night I must
undo it all again? Telling and
retelling might keep us unending.
     one thing.


Song of Circe

They call me witch—and worse—not knowing what I do.
It isn't magic, merely a trick of revelation,
a teasing of the veil, a flair for seeing truth.
Not endless damnation—it's only for a short duration,

this…porcine transformation. All those men were tested
and proved to act like swine, as many do. Not all.
I simply peeled the mask away, and they attested
to their own demise. When a woman's on top, the thrall

of jealousy will spawn a man's pigheadedness.
The smaller the man, the smaller he needs his women to seem.
A tired song. But oh, the difference with Odysseus:
undaunted poise facing my power…it was a dream.

He loved his wife. But on this isle with pigs by the dozen,
can I be blamed for wanting the only man who wasn't?


Loom, Mary Romero's first full-length collection, will appear next year through Finishing Line Press — an exploration written in the voices of Penelope and the other women of the Odyssey. Her poems have also appeared in Measure, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Slant, among others, and her chapbook Philoxenia won the Luci Shaw prize. Mary lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee where she works as a teacher, writer, deacon, and mother of two lovely hooligans.


Marion Starling Boyer
Barbara Lydecker Crane
Jenny Doughty
Nicole Caruso Garcia
Karen L. George
Carol Grellas
Jean L. Kreiling
Maggie Palmer
Samantha Pious
Trena Reed
Mary Romero
Michele Sharpe
Gail White
Marly Youmans


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

Gina Occhiogrosso: I am a painter whose work is composed not only through the application of wet color on a surface, but through processes of disassembly and realignment, and the incorporation of common, everyday materials like thread and yarn. These activities and elements allow me to explore anxiety, loss, humor and heroic femininity. The hallowed and often masculinized tradition of painting is subverted in my work through a repeated process of cutting and then sewing painted surfaces together to develop new forms, dynamic connections and illusions of depth. Where these freshly stitched edges join, there is a seam, which has both linear and sculptural qualities. The seam acts as a geometric disrupter of curvy ellipses and other organic forms that are carefully rendered and then carved up with alternating precision and chance. The ghost of those cut edges has its own subtle presence. I am interested in developing a surface that’s full of the suggestive qualities that abstraction can create. The stitched paintings supply this through the deliberate recalibration of shapes and their relationships to one another.

32 Poems
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