Squirrel Hill

“It is difficult
   to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
   for lack
     of what is found there.”
            — W. C. Williams
Magazine covers.

Linda Bosson

PHOTO: Linda Bosson

Linda Bosson was born in England, grew up in Australia, lived in New York for many years, and moved to Pittsburgh in 2005. She has been an editor, writer, artist, factory worker, sales assistant, and puzzle creator. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of publications, including Natural Bridge, Green Mountains Review, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Southern Poetry Review, and The New Laurel Review.


The journeys always end where they begin:
on the long yellow platform at dawn,
with you clutching your tartan bag, and the wind
so much colder than it used to be.
The station is empty, damp.
Somewhere a dog is awake. It whimpers.
No one is here to meet you.
Are you sure you sent the telegram?

You tighten your coat
around your shaking shoulders.
Something shifts in your head
and you wonder if, after all,
you never left, you still await the train,
and what you thought were memories
of trips to towers and mountaintops
were merely premonitions?
How can you tell? The journeys always
end where they begin.

  appeared in Antipodes (U.S.) and Magma (U.K.)

Starting today,
I will no longer obey.

I will put all my eggs in one basket
and count my chickens long before they hatch.
I will look gift-horses in the mouth
for hours on end,
and change the horses in midstream.

 I will cast pearls before swine
 and judge books by their covers
 and give up the ship
 and speak ill of the dead
 and throw babies out with bathwater
 and strike while the iron is ice-cold.

 I will trespass, solicit, canvass, loiter,
 touch, enter, disturb, park in driveway,
 spindle fold and mutilate.

 I will live in a glass house
 and throw stones all day long.

 I will forget the Alamo.

appeared in Antietam Review

This is where the bakery stood,
here on this littered lot.
This is where aromas soared
        from onion buns and flaky rolls,
        from apple, rhubarb, raisin, custard pies,
        from honey-dipped and glazed and jelly doughnuts,
        from tortes and tarts, brioches, breads,
        and jam and cream and crumpets.

This is where the bakery stood,
where Gina the manager taught me to mend broken cakes,
        and picked up the Boston cream pie that I dropped,
        and told me to scrape off the dust
        and make elegant swirls in the cream.
Gina, whose eyes never closed.
        “Boxes, girls!” she would say.
        “Don’t stand around idle.
        We need boxes.” So we’d take the flat cardboard
        and fold it along dotted lines,
        inserting the flaps in the slots.
Gina, who never once smiled
        till the day she left for Hawaii.

This is where the bakery stood,
where Frances would talk to the cakes but not to the people.
        “Get in there, you!” she would murmur,
        adjusting a crowded display
        and glaring at innocent muffins
        or winking demurely at scones.
Frances, aged forty at least, who lived with her parents
        and said she’d grown tired of TV
        and was thinking of taking a bath every night
        to get away from it all.

This is where the bakery stood,
where Sally swept in with a flourish.
        “I’m here, girls, I’m here,” she would say.
        “You can all go home now.”
Sally, who’d sing with her diva-like gestures,
        “Doughnut forsake me, oh my darling,”
        as she loaded the trays with the glazed and the honey-dipped.
        And when anything untoward happened,
            she’d throw up her hands and shout “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”

This is where the bakery stood.                    
I can hear the echo of voices.
        “Two corns and a bran, please.”
        “How many raisins are in the biscuits?”
        “You don’t know what bread is in this country.”
        “Look! Isn’t that dust in the cream?”
        “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”
        “Not that one. There’s not enough jam.”
        “Boxes, girls, boxes!”
            “Can I have the one in the window instead?”
            “Get in there, you!”
            “Will these still be fresh on Sunday?”
            “Give me plenty of string. I have a long way to go.”

This is where the bakery stood.

appeared in Eureka Literary Magazine