Ann Arbor Review


Michelle Bailat-Jones
Amit Parmessur
Steve Barfield
Fahredin Shehu
Karyn M. Bruce
Richard Gartee
Running Cub
Dejoy Robillard
Yuan Hongri
Lasz.o Slomovits
Silvia Scheibli
Stephen Sleboda
Alan Britt
Gale Acuff
Elisavietta Ritchie
Shutta Crum
Patty Dickson Pieczka

Duane Locke
Jennifer Burd
Aneek Chatterjee
Robert Nisbet
Robert Penick

Alex Ferde
Solomon Musa Haruna

Violeta Allmuca
Fred Wolven

Ann Arbor Review

is an independent

International Journal & ezine

Copyright (c) 2020 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 54 years all together....


Francis Ferde
Silver Grey Fox
Running Cub
Fred Wolven


Submissions via e-mail:



Graffiti In the Time of COVID

I have been thinking a lot about trains lately, or, perhaps,
the absence of trains clicking along the tracks near my home.

As a child, our windows, always opened to let cool breezes waft over
our bodies, brought the sound of trains singing to themselves in the distance
as they passed someone’s hay field or barn away from the thick of summer heat.
I would lay in bed, thinking about Hobos hopping freight trains,
like William Henry Davies, a Welch poet my father told me about, who lost his       foot,
but published a book about his adventures.

My father told me a lot of things, but we never discussed me.
To him, I should be a secretary in a large office just like my mother,
tucked in nicely with a typewriter, and shorthand book and pencil,
and eight hours “lost in confinement” of telephones and teletypes.
Each night, as the trains passed by whistling and clicking,
I dreamt of being the first girl Hobo, hopping up and over the city’s sweat and grime
in the pursuit of anything that didn’t rhyme. I’d leave a poem or two,
slapped on freight car doors, in reds and yellows and blacks and blues,
shouting out that I was alive and watching me live, escaping the confines
of a diseased mindset.

The sound of trains has disappeared. I sit out on the porch, read a book,
watch people in masks walk their dogs. Even they do not make a sound.
I have dreams about people dying, and when I wake, wonder if they really have,
under the cover of the virus or just because they were old. It is a strange time
without trains. There is no sound quite like them when night comes so dark
that even the blackness has no breath.


In the Sunrise of a Key West Poem

As I walk into this morning
gentle, white-washed breezes
bring the smell of Old Town Bakery
to me as women pedal past
on their squeaky bikes
with French loaves stuffed in their baskets.
Children run beside their mothers and giggle
warm buns squeezed in their hands.

The air is cool, the sound of blue-green sea
wafts through my skin like a water-colored painting
while I think of old poets, miles away,

opening book after book
searching for themselves
in the darkness of their poems.

I stop to pet a cat, or two,
stretched out on someone’s wooden porch
or along the cracked up-turned sidewalks.
It is a morning of pelicans
and weather-worn fishing boats.
I will wander to the shore and into the sea foam
picking up sun-bleached shells with my bare toes.
Today I am a sea gull or a misplaced tourist
scooping up seaweed or last night’s foggy dreams.
My footprints disappear into the sand like words
I do not wish to write or remember.


We Ask Questions We Cannot Answer

I have never met them
except in photographs my grandmother
kept in a box in the credenza. Domenica. Teresita.
Young girls with long hair, wind-blown. My age. Then.
When we were twelve and thirteen and I wrote letters
in English for my grandmother to their grandmothers.
Now we are old women, continents apart with
whole lifetimes spent, rejoiced, memories gathered.
Addresses given to me from my aunt, no longer living.

Italy. In the north. My grandmother’s birthplace.
We email. What’s Ap. I sent birthday cards, Christmas cards.
For the first time, I call. We speak. I hear my cousins
locked inside prayers. No one has died yet, and we wobble
across the “yet”.

As a child, I read the history of Battle Creek, the history of Michigan,
the history of the United States. I read about the wars with Indians,
and the wars with the Confederates, and the War of 1812. I memorized
the valorous deeds of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton,
and the women who nursed the dying of the Crimean and Civil wars
and gathered to make bandages for the bleeding soldiers.
I memorized facts and dates and names and took exams.
It was important. Turning page after page that someone before me
and someone before that, and someone before that, had turned.

I will not have stories to tell my granddaughter
because she is here, in the midst of this despair.
We keep her busy, let her watch princess movies,
make buckets of slime, and take lessons from YouTube
on how to draw someone’s eyes.
My neighbor has a picnic in the grass by her house
for her son each day. They bring cookies and their dog
and listen to music from their phone.
These will be their stories, we hope, when teachers ask them,
“What did you do during the Pandemic of 2020?”

I never learned to speak Italian
and now I regret that my mother wouldn’t allow it.
My youngest cousin says she is so bored staying inside.
I hear stories of Big Dog and home shopping, of all the people
who sing and play music from their balconies each night.
In days to come, when it is safe to venture out on the sidewalks,
the roads of our cities, we will gather our dead,
lay flowers on graves, place our footprints on dirt paths of cemeteries.
Across the world we will bury another layer of who we were.


Karyn M. Bruce,  Biscayne Park, Florida


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