Michele Sharpe

Lost Ring

Eel grass waves you on like a woman's thin fingers
when you float downstream on the river of least resistance.

     Floating down-dream in bedroom slippers, at least resisting
     the idea of sex with strangers, but still in love

with the idea of sex with strangers, I lost nothing.
But in the blue water of the YMCA pool,

     clear as the blue waters of spring-fed pools,
     my wedding ring slipped off, unnoticed.

I’d slipped my wedding ring off before, and no one noticed.
I held my breath and skimmed the bottom,

     I skimmed the bottom like a sturgeon, a fish
     old as dinosaurs. The ring had rolled away.

I’m a superstitious dinosaur. The ring meant to roll from me,
like a rebellious hoop rolling downhill to a river.

     Like the hollow center of a hoop rolling downhill,
     Absence can’t be seen, but I still feel the ring’s

absence. No, I can’t be feeling the ring, only the woman’s thin fingers,
my body flowing downstream with the river of least resistance.

How to Divorce

Avoid proximity, especially
when naked. In an ideal world, you’d start to plan
divorcing the moment you got married. Un-
romantic? Play it smart—divorce awaits
two thirds of couples. Take an inventory
of all the things you brought to the relationship:
your job, your microwave, your grandma’s ring,
the cake pans, Kitchenaids, and SUVs.
From there, keep track, keep score. Believe us; you’ll
be glad you did. Then practice saying nothing,
since nothing’s harmless in court. Engage in nit-
picking. Any impulse toward forgiveness
must be squashed. Put distance between yourselves:
A bundling board, a wall, a hall, a door.
A river. A state line. Keep your heart shut.
Enlist a sympathetic ear, someone who
already hates your spouse, like your mom.
Then visit us, at edivorce.com.


Michele Sharpe, a poet and essayist, is also a high school dropout, hepatitis C survivor, adoptee, and former trial attorney. Her essays appear in venues including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Poets & Writers. Poems are recently published or forthcoming in Sweet, The Mom Egg Review, Rogue Agent, and Salamander. She lives in North Florida.


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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
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

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