“Ornate Beast,” in Slant, https://slantpoetryjournal.wordpress.com/claire-hamner-matturro/
“Helping My Mother Bathe, “in Kissing Dynamite https://www.kissingdynamitepoetry.com/claire-matturro-helping-my-mother-bathe.html
“Checking Out,” in Lascaux Review: https://lascauxreview.com/checking-out/
“The Generous Stranger,” in Topical Poetry https://topicalpoetry.com/the-generous-stranger/
“Hurricane Ian: Gifts in the Aftermath of Misery,” in New Verse News, https://newversenews.blogspot.com/2022/10/hurricane-ian-gifts-in-misery-of.html
“Fire and Drought in the Tiger Moth Review, https://www.thetigermothreview.com/blog/fire-and-drought
Representative Poetry Reviews:
A review of Known by Salt by Tina Mozelle Braziel, reprinted in Compulsive Reader, originally published at Alabama Writers Forum.
A review of how small, confronting morning by Lola Haskins, in Southern Literary Review
“how small, confronting morning” by Lola Haskins – Southern Literary Review (southernlitreview.com)
A review of The Places that Hold by John Davis Jr in Southern Literary Review:
The Generous Stranger
(For Irpin, Ukraine)
Carried on the back of a generous stranger,
an old woman takes only what she can
hold in her bare hands as they cross
a shaking plank of wood placed over
the rubble of what was once
a concrete bridge. Cold river washes over
the feet of the generous stranger, but
he is steady. In the hard wind
which smells of burnt plastic and gunpowder,
the woman clutches the photo of her son who died.
On the bent fourth finger of her left hand,
her mother’s wedding ring rests
on top of her own as she hopes
to sell them both for food if they make it
to Poland. Behind her and the generous stranger,
her daughter sludges along, holding a
small stool for her mother to rest upon.
Wrapped in headscarf and coat but shivering
still, the daughter also carries their cat
in a soft canvas sack slung over her shoulder.
The animal is strangely quiet as if she fears
her howls might bring the cruel whistle of
more Russian missiles. Behind them all,
Irpin, Ukraine burns into ruin and wreckage.
The generous stranger, breathing heavily
from the weight of the old woman, steps
over a dropped shoe and keeps walking.
Helping My Mother Bathe
As she steps from the hard porcelain tub,
Mad and wet and gripping my arm tightly,
Her own all bone, tissue, and red veins, with
Her damp hair twisted on top of her head
Like some ancient turban of thin white strings,
Behind her against the moist yellow walls
Soap she flung drips like an angry blue fog
Crawling its way down to some ruthless sea.
With skin like raw nerves, she swallows her moans
As I pat her dry more with a whisper
Of towel against her than a true touch,
Her back to me so she can still pretend
She is tall and strong and filled with grace, and
I am not the one seeing her naked.
Hurricane Ian: For Those Falling or Broken
The top of the moringa tree planted
when we first moved here twists
horizontal as if scribbled against
darkening sky by a child’s crayon.
Pine needles hurl against my face
in sharp nicks that tell me to go
inside now, or not ever. Fear
snags the inescapable next breath.
The orchid tree whose blooms fed
hummingbirds cracks then careens
down on the grave of our cat. Behind
that, the seventy-foot sweet bay magnolia
lists left in a way she never did before, silver
leaves dropping like tinsel after Christmas
on the wet, sandy soil where her roots
spread near the surface of a loosening grip.
I pray to God for the magnolia’s safety,
selfish because if she falls it will be on us
and our house. Beside me, my husband
who believes neither in God nor prayer,
lifts his arms to the tree and asks
her to stand her ground, to not fall,
to not break, her or us. I plead prayers
for the souls of everyone falling or broken.
The wind goes quiet with a soft fade
as if someone slow and aged
carries the soundtrack further east.
We share sweet apples and salty peanuts
by candlelight for breakfast and
give thanks we are still here and
that the sweet bay magnolia held to
her roots and did not fall or break.
Deepening fetid flood waters host rot
and mosquito larvae multiplying in the
misery of Florida’s long recovery while trees
who still stand offer shade, their singular
blessings of cool green against the hot sky
as a hummingbird feeds from buds on a downed
firebush and I plead a mantra of prayers
for everything and everyone falling or broken.