Ann Arbor Review


Lana Bella
Laszlo Slomovits
Amit Parmessur
Elisavietta Ritchie
Michelle Bailat-Jones
Yuan Hongri
Yevgeniya Przhebelskaya
Alex Ferde
Karyn M. Bruce
Rajuish Mishra
Alan Britt
Patrick Ashinze
Shutta Crum
Fahredin Shehu
Paul B. Roth
Helen Gyigya
Aneek Chatterjee
Joanie Freeman

Gale Acuff
Robert Nisbet
Fred Wolven
Sreekanth Kopuri

Michael Lee Johnson
Silvia Scheibli
Richard Gartee
Ali Znaidi
Jennifer Burd

John Grey
Running Cub
Peycho Kanev

Ann Arbor Review

is an independent

International Journal & ezine

Copyright (c) 2019 Francis Ferde
All rights revert back to each poet.
--editor / Southeastern Florida

AAR history note:  in print 1967 - 1980.  Irregular publications 1980 - 2004.  As ezine 2004 - present. Most of 51 years all together....

Francis Ferde
Silver Grey Fox
Running Cub
Fred Wolven

Submissions via e-mail:




They have put my mother's body
inside a black, plastic bag.
I watched them zip her up
watched them push the gurney down the hall.
The men in black suits took her dead body.

I cannot leave this room.
The last words I did not hear
are somewhere
pressed against the white walls
or clinging to the rain-stained windows.
Somewhere in this room
her last thought is fading into the white curtains.
Her last breath is disappearing into the sheets.

I see the only sound I do not hear.
A drop of blood. Still red. On the white pillow



It was simple back then,
growing up in neighborhoods with sidewalks,
oak and maple trees, bikes (without speed or brake handles),
Kool-Aid stands consisting of a fold-out table and chairs,
and hand-made signs. Created by us kids.
Birthday parties, too, were kids-in-the-neighborhood events,
and they took place in our own houses.
My mother would set the kitchen table, covering it with a paper cloth,
usually one color, with paper plates and plastic forks and spoons.
Other mothers baked cakes for their "birthday child,"
but my mother didn't bake, so mine was always store-bought
which she placed in the middle of the table with little candles,
always counted for age and one extra "to grow on."
My friends and I dressed up in party dresses
and either walked alone or our mothers dropped us off.
We played games, usually Pin-the-Tale-on-the-Donkey,
ate cake and ice cream, sang "Happy Birthday,"
watched our friend open up her presents.
It was about family. A gathering. To honor the kid
who had reached a new age.

Now there has to be pizzazz!
Themes, like Mermaids, Princesses, Super Heroes.
Make-believe characters arrive in their own cars
apply make-up and costumes, and appear "magically"
from a flash of light or a three-dimensional dragon
wielding batons and rainbows to sing songs, play games, tell stories.
There are plates to match; colors to coordinate;
metallic, shiny, pre-decorated balloons; "goodie bags"
to send out with every child filled with birthday trinkets
to help them remember what a fun time they had.
There are "venues" like Chuck E. Cheese or Funderdome,
each with an army of employees, specially trained in the art
of whisking the birthday child away on a three-hour, all-inclusive
spectacular adventure for an entourage of friends
who will report back to every kid in class is this was, or was not,
"the" party of the year. The Academy Awards show of "dazzle and delight."

I have a granddaughter.
She has had a Barbie Mermaid swimming party
(complete with little swimming pools for the Barbie dolls),
two Princess parties (Cinderella, Ariel and Anna),
a Troll party, a Fairy Tea Party (with Tinkerbell),
a Monster Mini Golf party, a Minnie Mouse party.
All complete with banners and price tags.
But there is this aura about her, one that I have noticed
each year since her very first-year birthday party
when she gave a tiny, shy smile as we all sang.

She is simply happy to be with her family, friends. To have fun with them.
I watch her watching them. That one smile that asks "for me?"
And I know.
All the gag-me-with-a-spoon-show-stopping-out-of-this-world-
eye-popping-extravaganza disappears.
For that whole three hours of birthday, she is surrounded
by every single person she loves. And she knows this.
It is a celebration. Of her. Just being. Her.


Karyn M. Bruce, Biscayne Park, Florida


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