“Sterner Stuff” by Bonnie Rae Walker

Her graying braid coils up to a crown of plaited wool –
the august doyenne of the discount shopping aisle.
With her children to her chest, her body flowers full.

Hand-me-downs and papers sacks rush down the road to school.
Dog needs fed, dishes done and laundry’s in a pile.
She crushes palms to psalms, pressing life to be less cruel.

The bones, they ache sometimes with a heavy downward pull.
A collapse is near but there’s some mending meanwhile.
With her children to her chest, her body flowers full.

Kissing eight small heads she asserts life’s enduring rules:
trust your kin and beware a gift without a trial.
She crushes palms to psalms, pressing life to be less cruel.

She knows that we’re assembled without the proper tools,
but there is substance in the art of survival.
With her children to her chest, her body flowers full.

So she continues to grapple in a losing duel,
winning long forgotten, she hopes for points for style.
With her children to her chest, her body flowers full.
She crushes palms to psalms, pressing life to be less cruel.


bonnie_walkerBonnie Rae Walker is a graduate of UCI, now living in San Diego. She has been published in Right Hand Pointing, Ink in Thirds, and Lady Literary. To find out more visit www.bonnieraewalker.com.

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