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WINTER 2019-2020


Carolyn Raphael



Big Bernie steers his walker—now we know;
Jean’s sensible shoes insult her stylish dress;
Fred lost his winning smile years ago,
but Bella is still pretty, more or less.

They laugh about sarcastic Mrs. J,
who tortured only boys in English class—
about the stuttering of Mr. K,
who always let the weakest students pass.

I recollect the bullies, how they led
poor Robby to an overdose at home,
the way the cool girls whispered, head-to-head
while Lorna ate her salad all alone.

They sing old songs, try to recall a name,
share smartphone apps. I don’t know why I came.

Carolyn Raphael retired from the English Department at Queensborough Community College, CUNY, after more than thirty years of teaching. She has published two full-length poetry collections: The Most Beautiful Room in the World (David Robert Books, 2010) and Dancing with Bare Feet (Kelsay Books/White Violet Press, 2016), and two chapbooks: Diagrams of Bittersweet (Somers Rocks Press, 1997) and Grandma Poems—Not Too Sweet (Kelsay Books/Aldrich Press, 2017).



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