by Katherine Carlman     My goodness … the ache of it     Little breaths, shallow things
Like those tiny puddles
We used to avoid after a quick rain.There’s not enough oxygen.
The air has gotten thin
(Or my lungs have gotten thick)My rib cage, I suspect, encases
Nothing more than puffs of dust.    Neglect    No thing positive, effective, demonstrative –  
No contacting, no sharing, no encouraging,
No remembering, no caring
No support, no approving, no affirming – –
No thoughtfulness            No anything.No calls, cards, texts, letters, flowers, packages, gifts…
Neither giggles, fingers snapping, movie quoting, horn honking, doorbell ringing,
Nor lyrics sharing, door knocking, song singing, message texting, phone calling…            Nothing.Not hugs, jokes, smiles, joy; chuckles, snickers – – laughterlaughterlaughter- –
No coffees, dinner, drinks, a movie…None now, not ever, never more: nothingness.                     The Root of All Things    “How Great Thou Art”
The woman sang,
“How great Thou Art…”And from orbs I call mine own,
Water drizzled my cheeks.A band marching,
Drum rumble-thrumbling,
My chest echoed the throb.Tears pricked
My eyes then, too.What is it, this trick?
Pluck this thing, this string – – no,
not that one – -this one!

Pull it
Snap it back
Quick you go!With an old ballad
Or a kettle drum
With a perfect note
Or a sad, sweet tune,With anythingtrue.And wall-lah!
(Barry, always Barry)I spring a leak;
I need repairs.    About the Author:Katherine CarlmanKatherine Carlman is a writer living in Ojai, California who enjoys exploring the world with her husband and children. Her play, The Sixth Station, is available through Samuel French. Additional short plays have been published by Plays Magazine, and her poetry has appeared in Otto. Her essays and articles have been published by NACADA, Catholic Exchange, Twins Magazine, and Big Apple Parents Press, among others. “Exploring Kazimierz and Kopiec in Kraków,” a travel essay, was recently published by BootsnAll.