Woman Musician


Ken Pobo

My friend Harriet says that my problem

is my cubist soul.  I ask what she means. 

She says I’m incapable of seeing

real things.  I get huffy,

pour more tea, and maybe she’s right. 


Reality goofs up.  In school

I suffered when Mrs. Cardano

forced us to multiply. 

X meant times. 

Times were hard enough. 

X marked the spot where

my dreams disappeared. 

Numbers scalded like lava. 


When someone asks how I’m feeling,

I freeze.  I get that one wrong

all the time.  I’m feeling

like lemonade cornpoppers.  It’s real. 

Like someone playing a guitar

but all I hear is drums.

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Aunt Stokesia Unsure

Decisions, boa constrictors,

squeeze the life out of me,

even decisions like which

parking space to choose

or brand of sparkling water to buy. 

In the store I shift from foot

to foot, make a choice.  Return


what I chose.  When I got married,

I decided I was certain about

my future husband.  He felt certain too. 

We rode the bus of certainty—

until it crashed.  We hobbled out,

alive, but less so. 


Even divorce wasn’t certain. 

There would be loneliness, a break

in routine.  Should we? 

We did.


We became mountains

covered by fog.  We couldn’t

see if we were real or not.

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Kenneth Pobo is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections.  Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), Dindi Expecting Snow (Duck Lake Books), and Wingbuds (cyberwit.net), and Uneven Steven (Assure Press).  Human rights issues, especially as they relate to the LGBTQIA+ community, are a constant presence in his work.  In addition to poetry, he also writes fiction and essays.  For the past thirty-plus years he taught at Widener University and retired in 2020.