{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Marybeth Rua-Larsen

lives on the south coast of Massachusetts and teaches basic composition and ESL at Bristol Community College.

She is a member of The Somerset Players, a local theater group, and wrote the script for their recent production, A Stroll Down Broadway.

Her poems, essays, flash fiction and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in The Raintown Review, Lilt, The Flea, Verse Wisconsin, and Newport Review, among others.

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Haunted Heaven

They spiral to their separate ends,
and we assume they’re gone for good. If we could make amends

for the fists we shook,
the snide remarks behind the boss’s back, how we mistook

best friend for foe, we would. Instead, we’re stuck in rhyme,
and belly laughs we pantomime

no longer get us by. We even try the meditative schmooze
in folding chairs, but no amount of talk or booze

will bring them back
or set things right. It’s not apologies or discipline we lack

but trust.
Death isn’t death. It’s lust

for what we’ve lost, for what we can’t undo—
the faithless switcheroo.

We put the kettle on and boil the water till it cries,
steam open letters fraught with sighs,

rehearse them into scripts
and wish we’d licked that trace of sugar from their lips.


[Originally published in Measure.]