Heddy Reid

Heavy Lifting in the Tropics


This Caribbean heat batters you

till your mind is a soft green melon

here among the blossoms and billy

goats. Empanada vendors tease you

with their sing-song calls as you walk

your melon to the beach and center it

on a towel.

         Waves of liquid sighs

foam closer, and you drift as soft-hipped

women sway past, so many ample, half-

remembered figures by the sea. Men,

irrelevant, unfathomable, roam the beach,

scouting and preening, their lunch pails

bumping between their legs, and neon fish

ripple bright sea grasses.  

                                           It's all still there.



Making it Happen


First the silence

into which

grows either mold


or nose hairs, those

tufts of substrate

that beg to be trimmed


back, an unruly bed

grown to seed. Then

come the mental


health professionals

with their smiles and

excessive use


of first names. Yes, Tom,

I see. Can I ask you something,

Tom? Were you trying to injure


yourself, or did the clippers

slip? That poses an obvious

danger, Tom. And why hedge


clippers? When did the hairs

become so unruly, Tom?

Tom sighs, swallowing


blood and wishing only

for peace and quiet.

It gives him satisfaction


to know that black mold

is overtaking his good shoes

there in the dark closet of silence.



It Passes the Time


Later that afternoon she soaks

herself in stout, followed by a Merlot


rinse. Not a drinker, she is content

to smell of booze.  After bathing


her feet in a pail of cheap bourbon, 

she finally emerges, redolent


and ready to roll.  She dresses

and hurries to an AA meeting,


where, invited to share, she says,

"I'm Crystal and I'm not an alcoholic." 


"Jesus," some guy groans. Savoring the

eyerolls, she leaves early.  "Keep


coming back," a kind woman whispers

earnestly.   Crystal high-fives her.  "Oh, yeah."  

Heddy Reid is the author of A Far Cry, a chapbook of poems, and The Soul in Balance, a book of selected meditations paired with photographs of the Washington Cathedral. Her work has been published in Innisfree, Passager, Poet Lore, and The Southern Review, as well as several anthologies.  Heddy has taught poetry to adults and serves on the Poetry Board of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.  She and her husband have two grown sons and two grandsons.



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