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Three Poems
by Carolyn Bertram-Arnold

            Dogwood Winter

        In my mind it's still winter.
        Neighbor kids make snowmen, snow angels,
        and build forts for snowball fights
            outside my window.

        Then they warm inside my kitchen
        in sock feet, their red cheeks exposed
        beneath stocking-capped heads.
        Mittened hands cradle cups of homemade
        hot chocolate with mini marshmallows.

        Instead, a pink plastic flamingo roosts
        on the highest branch of a bent, spotted
        sycamore reminding me of a feeding giraffe,
        the result of Saturday night's ferocious windstorm.

        The neighborhood is quiet now--the kids
        in college or working at McDonald's.
        The closest thing to a snowflake is
        a lone dogwood spilling its white beauty
            on the hillside.

        I raise my steaming cup
            of instant cocoa
            in remembrance.


            Cotton Candy Fantasies

        I hear a youngster yell in the mall,
            "Mama, I want cotton candy--NOW!"

        My mouth waters for the pink and purple clouds,
            the texture of insulation.

        The boy's repeated cries emphasize my longing,
            "I want cotton candy--NOW!"

        My steps fast forward in the direction
            of the concession booth.

        My mind rewinds to the summer carnivals:

            A greasy old man shouts, "Step right up
            and see the bearded lady. Watch the man
            swallow a ball of fire...See the two-headed

            Fast spinning rides make me dizzy.
            Mom warned me not to waste money on games.

            I take a chance on just one--the ring toss.
            I know I can win a giant bottle of Coke
            when I put the ring around its neck.

            The man must know I can, too.
            He yells when I start to toss,
            and laughs when I miss by a yard.

            That spoils my evening at the carnival.


        I hand the lady $2 for the bag of pink fantasy--a rip-off
        like the ring toss. I plop a bite into my mouth.
        Sweet disappointment melts on my tongue.


                  Rain Talkers

                Raindrops talk to me.
                I lie in velvet darkness,
                absorbing their words.


    Carolyn writes:
    "I came across USADEEPSOUTH accidentally, but I felt at home. I've spent hours reading the poems and stories. When I read the southern expressions, I said to myself, 'I've been using most of these all my born days.' I've been published in several regional magazines and anthologies including but not limited to: APPALACHIAN HERITAGE, THE APPALACHIAN CONNECTION, GRAB-A-NICKEL, PEGASUS, KENTUCKY WRITING, and THE MOUNTAIN LAUREL."

    Read another of Carolyn's stories at USADS: Permanent Disabled


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