snow power


illustration by Julie Rohan Zoch

what’s under the white snow?


when I see the snowflake design on the weather report

I freeze, breathless!

forget to consider it a blanket

keeping the roots intact

sheltering the fungus which converts soil to new life

and lets me view light

and all the colors of its rainbow:

energy for my soul!

memories in the refrigerator


Julie Rohan Zoch


Afternoon Memory

by Gary Soto

Sometimes I’ll look in the refrigerator

And decide that the mustard is vaguely familiar

And that the jar of Spanish olives is new to me.

What’s this gathering? The butter

And salsa, the two kinds of tortillas

And, in back, the fat-waisted Mrs. Butterworth.

I’ll study the plate of cross-legged chicken,

And close the refrigerator and lean on the kitchen counter.

Is this old age? The faucet drips

The linoleum blisters when you walk on it.

The magnets on the refrigerator crawl down

With the gravity of expired coupons and doctor bills.

Sometimes I’ll roll my tongue in my mouth.

Is this thirst or desire?

Is this pain

Or my foot going to sleep? I know the factory

Inside my stomach has gone quiet.

My hair falls as I stand. My lungs are bean plants

Of disappearing air. My body sends signals, like now:

A healthy fleck is floating across my vision.

I watch it cross. It’s going to attack a virus

On the right side of my body

And, later, travel down my throat to take care of knee

sour liver,Little latch of hurt. I swallow three times.

I have to help my body parts. Fellas, sour liver

And trusty kidney, I’m full of hope.

I open the refrigerator.

blow dart of bran,I’ve seen this stuff before. What’s this?

The blow dart of bran? Chinese ginger?

No, fellas, they’re carrots. The orange, I hear,

Is good for your eyes.

“Afternoon Memory” by Gary Soto from New and Selected Poems. © Chronicle Books, 1995

under the gown


illustrator: Julie Rowan Zoch


waiting 78 years…


for a colostomy bag on my right

and a catheter on my left

for a pole laden with tubes to drag behind while I walk the halls…

for a way to keep accidents from the bed

mattress, mattress cover, sheets, comforter, carpet, gown,

and avoid the cold wet feeling that robs me of sleep’s gentle release.

More chance to practice diligence


and other qualities

worn in heaven.

all rights




illustrator: Julie Rohan Zoch




notice the simplicity of Zoch’s signature: “r Z”

black on white circle (negative space)

redolent of the yin/yang pattern

the gray values

the hard thin toe and wing lines

the soft edges on the head top and shadow

the two tones of gray to suggest the rounded abdomen

the soft simplicity of the closed eye lids

waiting for enlightenment




illustrator: Julie Rohan Zoch


I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.
At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.
Jane Kenyon
from Otherwise, 1996


I got out of surgery

with a healing incision.

There was no C-diff

or RSV.

I simply glowed!

Never caught pneumonia.

immune system thrived!

never had respiratory arrest.

We danced together

in the ballroom.

twirled around breathing easily

waving hips to the music

sliding our feet smoothly

in sync with each other

in our golden years.


by jeanne

(all rights)

Portal #13 How to Fall Asleep


illustrator: Julie Rohan Zoch


Put down the yo-yos

go darkest-blanket your spots-

let breathing take o’er


went to bed @10PM-knees hurt-scalp itched-had mate scratch back-tossed&turned-it was 2 AM-took shower-washed hair-drank water-finally fell asleep with a Benedryl-was awakened by NYS Alert System at 7AM warning of severe thunderstorm, hail, and high winds-the fire horns blared-the trees blustered. All I had was slow methodic zen breathing: elixir of sleep.

%d bloggers like this: