poetry
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"Christine Higgins is above all a gifted, working poet. She is a member of the Baltimore poetry group that for over 20 years has sustained and shaped the work of 3 other poets, one of them being me. Her work has most recently appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Red Booth, and Hospital Drive, and she has just completed two new chapbooks—Grief and Other Blessings, and Jesus: On Loan from the Permanent Collection, both of which we anticipate seeing in print very soon." ~ Madeleine Mysko

At the Good Sam Clinic

Joshua needs a voicebox.
Charlene needs an inhaler.
Darren needs a pardon.
Colleen needs her GED.
Kathy needs a wheelchair.
Earl needs to sleep.
Dante needs to learn to read.

Telephones get disconnected.
Bus passes get stolen,
and there's no insurance.
Teeth get abscesses. Houses burn.
Children get arrested.
Here, everyone with HIV or cancer
succumbs.

The head weighs sixteen pounds.
Try not to hold it up.
You have to balance it
like a gourd on a stick.

(At the Good Sam Clinic) First appeared on-line at
Hospital Drive, Summer 2009


Diary of Consumption

In the beginning
there’s a genuine fullness.
My grandmother
feeds me shrimp cocktail for lunch
and, after a good visit to the dentist,
ravioli with red wine.
But away from her loving gaze,
I turn ravenous.
There’s a recklessness to my eating:
frozen milky ways from the pharmacy,
chocolate egg creams from the soda fountain,
Slim Jims and barbecue chips from the deli.

I am only twelve when my depressed mother
charges me with going to the laundromat.
Money in hand, I help myself
to the riches of the shopping strip.
It has to be salty, soaked in vinegar,
thick and creamy, cold and sweet,
spicy and oozing.
The other women take pity on me,
fold my brother’s clothes,
match my father’s socks.
I look away, watch the TV on the wall,
sucking on a five cent pickle.
Inside, I am bone thin and tired.

(History of Consumption) First appeared on-line at
Red Booth Review, Vol. 7:3


The Art of Gaman

“Gaman:enduring the seemingly unbearable with dignity and patience”
           ~The Atlanta Holocaust Museum

They could only bring what they could carry.
One hundred and ten thousand Japanese
forced to "re-locate" to remote Topaz, Utah,
a spot where the sand swirled in the summer
and in the winter, snow drifted through the gaps
of the white-washed tarpaper shacks.  

The women fashioned pipe cleaner flowers,
which they preserved under industrial-sized mayonnaise jars;
the men painted landscapes with black ink
or created tea pots from slate;
mothers used the empty flour sacks
to make military sashes for their sons. 
The red string for knot gathering dotted
the material like tiny drops of blood.  

I saw such beautiful things made from their grief,
relieving my own:
a peach pit carved and polished into a ring,
painted birds in miniature
with snips of screen for their tiny feet.

(Gaman)  First appeared in Naugatuck River Review,
Issue 10 Summer 2013

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