Barbara simmons



In her dream, she speaks pianissimo at first, and then

her sounds, tipped,  sharpened prongs,

staccato stabs at meaning.

Earlier, she’d dined on galantine, had moved the

mounded meat around to change the shape

of dinner.  It bothered her, this wounded

meandering,  the  verbal travels to clandestine scabs

the conversations she could not scrape away.



In her dream she sees the patine: souls fed

without a fork, wheaten circles for communion,

cups of hands, receptacles of faith;

that meal’s eternal promise pressed into each palm. 



Her father’s anger bruised her, felt as sharp as if he’d taken tines,

prodded her; most meals would end with both sides jabbing back.

The mounted tres-tine saw the words that flew between the two.

With meaning cleared away, no courses left to share,

she swallowed down the meal with bitters,

dreaming that she’d slept through dinner,

longing for a vessel where all who cared

would be on board to sail the Tyne

to open waters and feasts that healed.


Barbara Simmons holds a degree in English from Wellesley College, an MA in The Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University, and an MA in Educational Administration from Santa Clara University. She has worked as a secondary school English teacher, as a college admissions officer at Wellesley and at Santa Clara University, and as a College Counseling Director. She is currently spending time learning how to change her ‘fast-paced’ gait to a more ‘spiritually directed’ and reflection oriented one, walking with words, walking with her new ‘retired’ life, walking with friends who join her in wondering about the world and praising the world with words, in wonder.