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Residents share work for National Poetry Month

Angry Man’s Hands

By Nichelle Vanderploeg

You were suppose to be my soul mate

Protect me from all harm and pain

Now your eyes filled with hate

There’s nothing left for us to gain

This relationship changed on that special date

Every time you drank I knew there would be hell to pay

I tried to stop you but there was nothing I could do or say

My body covered in green, black, and blue

I find ways to hide those marks, those marks that were left by you

Each time you say it won’t happen anymore

But I know you will, give it a week or two

I will see the signs next time you drink a few

This time is not the same

I can’t take it anymore, my life is not a game

This is the last time you knock me to the floor

Police were called, of course they never came.

You clinched your hands around my neck

saying you’re killing me and no one will ever know.

The fact that you’re doing this in front of my kids makes you really low

I can feel my eyes bulging from my face as they swell with tears

Deep down wishing you never had those beers

I hear my kids screaming and begging for you to quit

You turn to them to tell them in their room they better get

Turning back to me with that blank look in your eyes to say

Don’t forget people die running into knives every day

I knew I really had to leave

Why did it take me so long, why was I so naive

I plotted out my plans and walked out your door

I knew that your hands wouldn’t hurt me anymore

I finally got it all together and got out

I took my kids and didn’t have a doubt

Life is so much better, now that I see

I didn’t realize before that you hurt my self esteem

I kept thinking to myself why would anyone want me

But someone came along and made me finally see

I am more than a punching bag or a stepping stone

I have people that care and I’ll never be alone

They will always be there right by my side

If I ever need to talk, in them I can confide

you are in my past where you’ll stay forever more

I’ve never felt better as I did when I walked out your door

I finally found true love at last the kind I’ve longed for

He is my dream that has come true

causes me no harm,  one of the few

I have made a new life and it has been great

It wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for God and fate

I am so thankful and I always pray

For god saving me so I could walk out that day

If it weren’t for God giving me the strength and staying by my side

In an angry man’s hands I would have died.


The Lonely Days

By Cheyanne Riddlebarger

I feel so isolated

I want this virus annihilated

I hurt for my community

But find myself rejoicing in our renewed sense of unity

We have to stay six feet apart

Can’t hug our friends to help heal our lonely hearts

As the quarantined days grow longer

I yearn for those who are sick to soon grow stronger

I hurt for those lost

For the ones who paid an unnecessary cost because of others ignorance

When these stressed and lonely days come to pass

And they will pass

I can only hope that society will have grown for the better

May we help more and hate less

May we open our minds in conversation rather than curl our fists in confrontation

May we be humbled by these days that never seemed to end

And never forget the value of our friends.


A Banner Colored Pink

By Gatewood Woosley

She keeps on running

while drops of sweat fall to the ground

Her eyes are intently fixed 

on a monster that has quietly been around

A monster that devours the flesh

and its only purpose is to kill

It sinks it’s teeth to inflect pain

knowing the outcome of how she will feel

This is why she keeps on running

determined not to fail

Yet in her mind she begins to doubt

if she can defeat this evil straight from hell

She has watched many people

devoured by this beast

For this reason she stands and fights

hoping no one else will be it’s feast

Who is this courageous lady 

determined to win this grueling race

Over a monstrous evil cancer 

that she will not embrace

You know she is extremely tired

at least that’s what you would think

But she stands like a brave young soldier

wearing a ribbon that’s colored pink


To endure the storm

By George Rothwell

A storm has arrived, so strong and intense.

Disrupting our lives and leaving us in a state of suspense.

Shelves are empty and bare, much pushing and shoving not a way to show we care.

In search for shelter we look high and low, no matter where we turn there is nowhere to go.

“Stretch forth thy hand,” Jesus begins to say. “According to your faith the intensity of this storm you will withstand.”


10 a.m.

By Lashana Harney

It’s 10 a.m. again

And I’m standing in my office in sweat pants and yesterday’s T-shirt

Following along to Ba Duan Jin

Holding my two hands up to the Heavens

It’s Tuesday, maybe? 

The days all seem to blend together 

Meeting after meeting 

And countless bowls of cocoa pebbles 

Except for the week when I couldn’t find them 

On the Dollar General shelves

And my heart broke

Yearning for that chocolatey comfort 

That brings me back to my childhood

Anything to distract me from this vertiginous feeling that I get

When I look out my windows 

And realize I haven’t mowed my yard in two weeks

I draw the bow to shoot the Eagle

My mind drifts to the small clump of dog hair 

Hanging desparately to the internet cable 

I make note to sweep later

Separating the Heaven and Earth 

I forgot to workout yesterday

And I’ve had a book on my nightstand 

For who knows how long 

That I know I want to read

But haven’t yet

Like a wise owl, I gaze backward 

To all the things I need to do 

But I can’t seem to focus 

In this chaotic calm

Sway the head and shake the tail 

I wonder which wolf I’ve been feeding lately

As I grow even more impatient 

Because Zoom is supposed to mean 

“To go speedily” 

And yet —

With two hands I reach for my feet to strengthen the kidneys and waist

“Take 5 deep breaths” 





If I spell it out

And say it aloud

Maybe I’ll speak it into existence 

Cause I haven’t been able to sleep lately

Clench the fists and glare fiercely

This always burns 

In my thighs

I’ve been holding onto some anger

And grief

With each movement 

I try to let go 

Bouncing on the toes

I love this part 

Because I know 

I, we will feel the ground again


Spring’s embrace

By Lily Caudill

As winter begins to loosen his grasp around my neck I can feel the warm embrace of spring. 

She’s so close I can smell her. It’s so familiar, but it feels like an eternity since she’s been here with me.  

I can see her smile beginning to emerge. It brings me life and I begin to feel my senses again. 

Spring runs her fingers over my scalp and I feel a rush that tingles down to my toes. 

I touch her hands and I feel warm 

She laughs at my excitement. She told me she would be back, but I always feel as though she is leaving forever when she’s gone. 

Her long golden hair swishes around to her waist daisies, daffodils and lilies intertwine into the strands. 

She sees me eyeing them and gently pulls one out and places it behind my ear. I touch the soft petals and sigh because I have finally found my peace.


Quarantine Is Borentine

By Samuel Bratten

Quarantine is borentine.

It makes me want to snorentine.

I’m tired of this warantine.

I can’t take this any morentine!

The schools are canceled, churches too

The cows have even canceled their moos!

Sports, parks, and parties — all canceled today

And so many more I can’t even say!

Staying home, doing school.

Quarantine isn’t very cool.

Thinking, thinking… thinking a lot.

Thinking those thinks that transform a thought.

What to do, where to be?

Go outside, plant a tree.

You can use sidewalk chalk,

Or take a walk;

Play in your backyard,

play with a deck of cards.

Grow tasty potatoes or red tomatoes.

Make a bunker for tornadoes.

Go bird watching, paint splotching.

Use frozen vegetables to make hibachi.

Call a friend… make it three.

Reach out electronically.

Call Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie too.

Check on older folks that live near you.

Make homemade muffins and watch them bake.

Decorate a birthday cake.

Draw a picture, maybe two.

Don’t forget, your sky might not be blue.

Pet your dog or your cat

Play baseball. Use a bat!

Add oil to heat and see corn pop.

Watch a movie marathon nonstop!

Mopping floors, clean your room

Just kidding! That’s what no kid wants to do.

Stay at home, stay at home.

Use LEGOs to build the White House dome.

While stuck at home use books to roam

to far-away places and meet many, many new faces.

Turn on the tv and watch the Cincinnati Zoo.

See safari animals. Make a kangaroo!

What to do, where to be.

Stay home, do an idea. (Or three!)



By Lorean Rader 

Ships sailing on the sea, always seem to beckon me.

As they float, glide, and sway-

As they travel on their way-

Oh, how I wish that I could be -like the ships on the sea!