Ann Arbor Review


Patty Dickson Pieczka
Deji Adesoye
Michelle Bailet-Jones
Steve Barfield
Gale Acuff

Elisavietta Ritchie
Solomon Haruna
Aneek Chatterjee
Karyn M. Bruce
Robert Nisbet
Laszlo Slomvits
Y. Przhebelskaya

Running Cub
Alan Britt

Alica Mathias

Michael Lee Johnson

Vyarka Kozareva

Silvia Scheibli

Richard Gartee
Fahredn Shehu
Amit Parmressar

John Grey
Shutta Crum

Jennifer Burd
Kushal Perusal

Fred Wolven

Stephen Sleboda

Denis Robillard

Alex Ferde


Ann Arbor Review

is an independent

International Journal & ezine

Copyright (c) 2021-22 Francis FerdeAll 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 55 years all together....

Francis Ferde, editor
Silver Grey Fox, editing
Running Cub, reader
Fred Wolven, publisher

Submissions via e-mail:





Ode to a Sock
                    For Anna

We all have the same problem
when we reach inside the dresser drawer
and pull out.  one.  sock.
Then we rifle through the drawer
in search of the other.  If not there,
do we wear the one sock?  It looks like
we should.  After all, it was waiting
inside the darkness we created for it.
Waiting.  Did it know its other was missing?
Did it hide it? Did it toss its other half
behind the darkness?  Did it want to be just one?

I don’t match up to my mother, my father.
What were my siblings like?  The ones
who died in the womb? Did we share the same
anything? I’ve spent my whole life
talking to myself about myself. Trying to wiggle
my way around my darkened boundaries. I didn’t
work in a factory or wear house-dresses or pin-curls
in my hair. I tried not to flip around like one sock in the
middle of a dryer or dangle from a Mid-Western clothesline. 
One. Sock. Twisting in the warm, spring winds hoping a starling
would not crap all over it flying by.

My granddaughter is delighted to wear mis-matched socks,
so when one pair is reduced to one. sock. she keeps it,
wears the odd sock with another odd sock.
Her drawer is full of purples, reds, stripes, and squiggly. odd. socks.
She thinks stores should sell them that way on purpose so
no. one. is looking for the other. one. It’s fun, she says. I can wear more colors!
Ode to a Sock!  It’s glorious to be. one.


Before the Death of Donald Hall
After the Death of Jane

Would you let me in if I showed you my latest poem
about trees and rivers that shimmer in morning daylight
while all the lines are drifting across the page like fish
beneath the green shiny surface,
flipping their tails and gurgling their songs?
I want to come in although I have no right to be here.
I have no right to smell the emptiness of the upstairs bedroom
where she slept, or touch the sunlight that falls
on the few tangled hairs left in her hairbrush.
But I want to come in and sit in the rocking chair there by the fireplace
and walk with Dog out into the fields of summer flowers buried now in winter snow.
I want to go out to the barn and watch the moon rise above my head
while I linger, watching my breath slip into the night of a poem.

I want to be here, although I know I should not, there beside the windowsill
to watch cardinals perch and build nests on the weathered branches
or by the cat as she washes herself on the linoleum floor.
I have dreamt of the fields in autumn, there where apples drop from trees
and the smell of cinnamon muffins warms the hours long into afternoons.
I want to slip into her words, searching for the shadows she has left behind.

I have no right to be here while you weave the echoes of her absence
across Eagle Pond, gather her fingerprints from coffee mugs
and the butter knife that will never be washed again.
From the poem. The one she must have left for you to read. After.
I did not know her. I have no right to be here,
and I will leave with this poem while you walk Dog
as he still searches the fields for her along the worn-out path
to the church. I should not be here. 
There are these spaces, you know.  I hear them. between words.


When I Told Howard McCord I Was Moving to Miami

he told me not to write poems about old people.
I wasn’t old then, so I told him not to worry.  I only write
about the dark voices inside me.  About trees and winter nights.
The Michigan silence so loud I could never sleep.  But
there wasn’t any darkness in Florida.
The nights light up like a carnival of white clouds.
Each night I go outside to look up into the emptiness of blue skies
because I had lost the darkness.  The place where there are words.
Like the day my father died, and I had nothing to say.
So, Howard McCord reminded me not to write about old people.
And I said I wouldn’t. But I told him they were everywhere
with sagging breasts and bellies wrapped in beach blankets.
Or each other. Right there in the sand.
There were Botox and plastic surgery signs in doctor’s offices, dental offices,
on bus stop benches.  I saw a couple whose faces were stretched
and pulled tight with twisted noses, and cheek bones puffed up like balloons.
Tiny, swollen eyes. Big lips. There must have been a two-for-one
special-spectacle somewhere. And the funerals.  Every day a new one.
Trails of Buicks driven into cemeteries by old people who lost a friend,
a wife, or husband.  Maybe no one.  They just go to funerals like my
grandmother used to  for something to do.
I saw a mausoleum in a cemetery with a plaque near the door
“I Told You I Was Sick.”  And another grave for a man buried
with his Cadillac.  But I didn’t write about them.
Twenty years later, I wrote to Howard McCord and told him
that I just wanted to write about anything, and he told me
not to write about old people because it was “cliché” and boring.
But I told him about the woman on the bus who dropped a dime.
I picked it up for her and she spit at me with “why do you have to be
so nice?” Everyone stared at me, shaking their pin-curled or
pink or blue dyed hair. Or black-dyed bald heads. I told him about
the old man who died in the grocery store, pushing his matted-fur dog,
keeling over in the vegetable section.  I told him about the woman with
a red-wool scarf over her head who walks down my street.  Staring.  Stopping.
For hours.  I told him about the once-Amish-woman who asks me every day
if I know how old the young women are who work for the Noah’s Ark exhibit
in Kentucky, and if they are virgins.
After thirty years, I wrote to Howard McCord and said I was still trying to write.
He asked me who I was and told me maybe I should write about old people.
No one does that anymore.



 Karyn M. Bruce, Biscayne Park, Florida


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