A soldier becomes a soldier

Written by Allison Riechman-Bennett
Art by Allison Riechman-Bennett

A soldier becomes a soldier when all is blinding white. Bandages lend towards plaster set after a flash of gunfire.
How do I have my words apart from my writing? It mirrors blood seeping through steri-strips and gauze. I will never face war as close as ones that shudder theatres or drown hushed crying in tunnels.
So why do my words keep trying?
Infancy puzzles intellects in their prime but gangrene and cauterizing shouldn’t phase me.


Written by Allison Riechman-Bennett
Art by Allison Riechman-Bennett

There must be a kind of opposition to this already.

My letters have not been received on the account of slow postal service – or yourself.

Sweet winds beckon and snow catches scarves tucked over noses.

They breached summer ails which fanned cheerful sunflowers trampling one another – reaching for sunlight and to be gazed upon by those passing by. Their view of light, while nearly blinding, shallow their roots making way for the next season’s crop.

Sweet winds, sweet winds, but nothing to pass between them. The silence was on my part, I wanted to sit and watch the sunflowers for a stretch. My tilling undone, I found a new garden.

Do you hear this?

Farming came naturally though words did not. 

You told me once of a boy and a horse and expected me to captivate on him rather. You told me of a motorized kitten and of hunters in the woods. Told me once of illness which came only after mine. Once of snow and the crispness of the wind that still bites your nose. Of your hatred of David Byrne and the distaste you had for the hills leading up to class. 

I offered, once, to help you with your words. You accused the priest of sleeping with the farmhand. We snuck over a garden wall and spoke of verses that others had whispered in our ears. He told me you sung to him, lyrics of Zimri and threatened Ahithophel, and that words were mirrored. It was wicked, but I still think you drew no shame on commissioned fairytales.

Treasure, as expected, only lasts a year’s time. Its glamour and its promises falter when the jeweler expects infinity but invests in fish. Wedding bells can ring, but a fox will always find its way through the hen house. 

I have stewed, that is for certain.

I’ve baked under your insolence

Grateful nearly two years; our farm has done well under the direction of a scarecrow. 

Give it water and nurture the sheep as the priest and the farmhand should have and set them free before you should decide to knit.


Written by Allison Riechman-Bennett
Art by Allison Riechman-Bennett

Do not waste tears on others, but cry for yourself; hold yourself.
Rest with the knowledge that those who meant you harm are numbed and away-
not permanently, but distanced enough to give you time to reframe their known slights and vices.
Breathe in now and exhale into covers, hold them tight against your chest so you can feel the force you hold, both inside and out.
They did not know you or they would have managed love at least.

A Mother

Written by Allison Lee Riechman-Bennett
Art by Dale Chihuly

There must be a way to both constrict and construct a mother:
To talk through the distortion in favor of a parasite a blessing,
hold the deepening curve and support it past the days of birth.

There must be a way to confess a mother.
To hope due of the few nights stay and a spinal tap,
hold one another while the plastic cradle exits the floor.

There must be a way to confine a mother
To speak unspoken fears to a midnight shift nurse,
hold that truth so tightly that it seeps through the stitches.

There must be a way to breathe without a mother.
To simply dream of drain bags and nothing more,
hold something that drinks from you rather than through.

A Midwest Spring

Written by Allison Riechman-Bennett
Art by Allison Riechman-Bennett

Unfurl my warranted design and point towards each pen stroke that never served you.
The snow in March was still of ice, freezing petals edging fall fast on their branches.
A death toll stamps the ears of young deer across the highway rather than the sirens you’d expect in late May.
The scientist’s love of lye stained into his cuticles and danced in the bubbles of the bath for the daughter whom he’d never bathe.
The snow in March was still of ice, though sinking through the dirt at first touch.
The church bells ring for union and burial, both still for love.


Written by Allison Riechman-Bennett
Art by Allison Riechman-Bennett

Instrumental, we seem, to our own surmise.
And yet it is a blessing, a substantive reminder that we are also of our own falsities, when another adds a note to our chorus.
Here lies a place unseamed.
Untitled to rain, to crystalline flakes swept into known unknowns.
It is where Penelope lets loose her threads, and where Hestia pulls them into her hearth.
And where the Mother’s skin grows a porcellian familiar with the sun.

Nor the Spud

Written by Allison Riechman-Bennett
Art by Allison Riechman-Bennett

It wasn’t the senseless loss of my own daily routine that truly shocked me
nor the melt nor the wraps nor the cups nor the nights
I lost spending with my sister- waiting for a bag to sit on the counter-
nor the farmers nor the loss nor the spud nor the rights
I had a dollop of soured cream smeared across the counter
nor the sticky floors nor the spice nor the aftermath
Of a crunchwrap on the side of filled beans that truly shocked me


Written by Allison Riechman-Bennett
Art by Allison Riechman-Bennett

I don’t know if you’ll ever be what I can’t find, but your poem spilled out in my recliner;
it held babish and sea foam,
the smell hooked my nose.
But I’ve known you far too long to humble me.

We wear our scars a bit flatter than those who can afford to dote on them;
cruel disappointment and an aching change.
It is in my blood letting that I recognize your clotless leech.

Darjeeling without honey

Written by Allison Riechman-Bennett
Art by Allison Riechman-Bennett

The eyes can glaze a second death.
There is a stunted breath behind his teeth, seething harsh.
New snow, softened tread left and clothing stiffened in the drum.
There is a hushed freezing, but not from water to ice–
It is the crystalline flakes around a street light, taking in the wind, the sights, and the eyes peeking through a second story blind.

Thread the ribbon through my ribs
strike my chords and let leak my marrow.

The winter sun is the coldest promised warmth,
an embrace of chilled crisp.

I am learning not to dedicate to you,
an effeminate fable, a fib when the heart broaches a moment all too soon.