--for Lee B. Jones

Passing through Paw's kitchen,
as we always did,
we'd see him in his chair,
smoking. He'd slip off

into a mystery room, daring us
to transform cigarette papers
into toys. We sat by the coal bucket,
using foot stools as tables, rolled without

tobacco, produced sufficient spit,
wandered into the parlor.
Paw's parlor was a useless room with no chairs.
Two library tables held conch shells,

coated with antiquity, and my great-
grandmother was laid out dead in her coffin
in that room, when Daddy was three.
He remembered that. We went outside

because we were children, and sweet-peas
bloomed in Paw's back yard,
discovered marbles in concrete: cat's eyes
atop the steps up from High Street

imbedded too deeply to pry out with sticks.

© Helen Losse, First published in Domicile.

Riding in a Model A in Early Springtime

A row of apple trees lines
the winding road.
And false-brown leaves
whirl dervishly
in the roweling wind
a wind that's blowing through
low-lying branches.

Small apples, dropping like nuts,
pelt the earth like a joke from the past.
So, technically, it's Springtime,
but winter makes great news.

Silhouettes of a man and a woman
move inside a Model A.
Despite the cold, they have the
windows down. The man
greets the morning
like a prophet bearing great joy.
Only this time it's personal.
He sports a welcoming smile, nothing else
at least, nothing I choose to speak of.

The blond beside him wears
last year's sunscreen, found in the car,
and warm yellow mittens.

© Helen Losse, First published in Rearview Quarterly.

Bio: Helen Losse is a poet and free lance writer with recent poetry publications or acceptances in Facets; A Literary Magazine, Black Bear Review, Rearview Quarterly, Tacenda, TimBookTu, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Blink, Domicile, Alba: A Journal of Short Poetry, The Verb, Cold Glass, The Bohemian Rag, Poets Against the War, Voices in Wartime, anthologies in the UK, and a micro-chapbook, Absolution, #322 in the POEMS-FOR-ALL Series from 24th Street Irregular Press. Her chapbook, Gathering the Broken Pieces, is available through FootHills Publishing. In her poetry, she combines her interest in creative writing with African American history in an effort to promote equality, justice, and a quest for peace. She also writes book reviews for the Winston-Salem Journal.