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Like Ivy

by Ellaraine Lockie


Headlines on the newspaper rack at Carssow’s read

New York City Taxi Driver Kills Pedestrian

The soda fountain, post office and grocery store

became one big mouth that morning

It yapped for weeks and snarled warnings

like a Great Pyrenees protecting sheep

In versions of Stay away from that jungle

and They'll tear you apart right on the sidewalk


Those fangs took root in the flesh

of a ten-year-old prairie girl

And even the New York in Miracle on 34th Street

couldn't put a muzzle on the mouth

It talked through the megaphones

of West Side Story, The Godfather and Goodfellas


It talked through every trip she took

Demanding not as much as a layover in the jungle

en route to major cities of Europe, outbacks in Africa

red light districts and haunted undergrounds

It talked all the way into Social Security

Drool of the old dribbling down its hairy jowls


The woman stays home more now

Spends time in her backyard

where nothing talks but squirrels and birds

She worries about the plum tree

The ivy that covers its trunk

and wraps around the branches

The absent plums this year.




Ellaraine Lockie is widely published and awarded as a poet, nonfiction book author and essayist. Tripping with the Top Down is her thirteenth chapbook. Earlier collections have won Poetry Forum’s Chapbook Contest Prize, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Competition, Encircle Publications Chapbook Contest, Best Individual Poetry Collection Award from Purple Patch magazine in England, and the Aurorean’s Chapbook Choice Award. Ellaraine has received multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize, teaches writing workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh.

Like Ivy was originally published by the Chiron Review

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