Issue 27 | Winter 2021


When I talk to her on the phone

she believes I’m at the store buying fruit,

or at the mall, trying on shoes. She asks me

to pick things up: “Don’t forget the napkins,”

she’ll say. “Remember to get two percent,

not whole.” In my cold, Court Street apartment

in Brooklyn, not far from the bridge,

I collapse. Because I am not nearby,

I will not see her in a few minutes.


The truth is I will never again see the mother

I know, the one always halfway through

four different books, or making the light

on the water perfect in her pastel landscapes.

This version of her believes everyone

she has ever known lives around the corner

in a cul-de-sac and she will see them Sunday

at the ten o’clock service. No matter how long

they’ve been gone, I say, “Isn’t that nice, Mom?

Something to look forward to.”


This summer, when I visit, I’ll bring fresh bagels

and a lard bread from Mazzola’s Bakery and

a pile of poems she’ll set to the side

where, within a couple of hours,

they’ll be lost beneath the flowers

of her crisp, clean sheets.

Filed under: Poetry

SM Stubbs runs a bar in Brooklyn. He is the recipient of a scholarship to Bread Loaf Writers Conference and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets. Winner of the 2019 Poetry Prize from The Freshwater Review, he was also runner-up in both the Atticus Review and Cagibi Poetry Prizes in 2019. His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, The Normal School, Puerto del Sol, Carolina Quarterly, Twyckenham Notes, Iron Horse Literary Review, and New Ohio Review, among others, with work forthcoming in December, Crab Creek Review and more