Sonja James

My Father’s Retirement


My father gardens, feeds the birds.

He does a bit of taxidermy

then walks to the post office each day.

Sometimes there’s a note from me

and a clipping of my latest review.

Nothing else happens in his quiet life

until the evening sky holds him captive with its beauty.

Tonight scientists predict a meteor shower.

He’ll wear a helmet, just in case.  


Uncle Bill


Someday when the cicada is the noisiest insect

and you don’t know what to do with the quiet

thudding that is your heart,

you hold it again, that little bouquet of dried flowers,

a gift for your paternal grandmother,

and see how your great uncle her brother reached for it—

a profusion of tiny purple and yellow blossoms—

while exclaiming “Women has the prettiest things.”

How he held it gingerly in front of him,

turning it this way and that, and how you blushed

with pride at the distinction of your gender,

knowing that you somehow impressed this rough man

with your femininity. He, who spent his days

hunting and fishing and trapping with the other menfolk

from the mountain.



Sonja James is the author of The White Spider in My Hand (New Academia Publishing: Scarith Books, 2015) and Calling Old Ghosts to Supper (Finishing Line Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Innisfree, Poet Lore, Beloit Poetry Journal, and The Gettysburg Review, among others. Among her honors are five Pushcart Prize nominations. She resides in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.



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