First Memory

I was tiny, maybe about two or three years old at most, carrying some plates to set on the table that Oma had given me. Her instructions were stern as usual, and I was scared to take them to the dining room. I walked real slow and carefully so as not to drop them.

It was my aunt’s apartment in Berlin, Germany, when it was still called “West Berlin.” It featured a large open living room and dining room. She and her husband’s veterinary practice was just beyond the double doors beside the dining area.

I remember my dress was a blue crushed velvet, with shiny buttons down the front. My white stockings are tucked into shiny black patent leather shoes with a strap across them. Even the details of the kitchen and all the other rooms are vivid in my mind. When my father was stationed in Berlin, I remember spending much time there when I was younger. It wasn’t always a happy place because my grandmother was strict. My mother and her sister also didn’t get along well; the tension was palpable.

Perhaps there are more memories yet to surface. It may explain why I’ve always felt like life didn’t start well.


happy memories
unearthing chanterelle
healthy lunch eaten

Recently, a great memory came to the forefront of my mind. I was visiting my father for the summer in Germany where he was stationed. It was 1974, and I was not quite 12 years old yet. The neighbor’s kids became fast friends, and many hours were spent with them camping, hiking, and generally goofing off.

One morning, I went out to the forest with the father of one of my friends. We were on a mission to gather as many Pfifferlinge as possible. That is what the Germans called them, chanterelle is what I later found out they are called here.

If I recall correctly, we spent about three hours in the woods and brought back about two buckets full. This would be enough to feed the many people waiting for them back home.

I don’t know the exact recipe but I do know they were prepared in a pan with lots of butter and eggs. And they were delicious!! The texture and the taste are so different from the ones we so frequently eat here – canned or fresh.

Shame we don’t have any forests around here. I do believe I would try mushroom hunting again. 🙂

A Little Help From My Friend


Ghosts of the past linger in the chambers of my memory.

Like the heavy feel of lanolin staining memories a smudged yellow.

An intervening moment of serendipity removes the hold of bygone days.

Again, my simpatico relationship meaningfully ties me to my abundant present.

*I was given these bolded/highlighted four words during a visit with my bestie. Thank you for the inspiration, Terry! 

Originally published 8/15/2018 on I Write Her.

Reena Saxena


I am no Midas
yet everything I touch now
acquires new meaning
Is it an artist’s vision
or a poet’s call and yearning?


change seeps in
itself in
deep psyche layers
mirrors lie with the same face


memories unfold
-a pressed flower in the book
crushed before its time
I strive to read stories etched
on petals, not the pages


rainbows show
multiple layers,
complex truths
in seven
predefined colors
-I look for what lies beyond


Reena Saxena is a former banker, coach, and writer from Mumbai, India. Published works are available on Amazon – When Time Stopped (Fiction), Com Pen Di Um (Poetry Anthology), Life As It Happens (Poetry Anthology), Basic Banking for Debt Recovery Agents, and E-books on Money Psychology available on the MoneyGoalz website. This is Reena’s first feature on The Short of It.


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Lisa Tomey

Memories Sweet Taste

Taste the memories
Harvests after sweat and spade
Earth has its own soul

This Thing About Trees

leaves tangle in her hair
from aging trees
roots locked
in shared vibrations

spring brings growth
rings stretch the girth
age is crowned with colors
changing in time

sangria scented lips
tease in her shade
youth finds folly
yet, the wisdom
of the sage

there is no way for youth
to escape the elder court
its shadows and arms
hold all there is to know
about the beating
of the drum
of the heart

There Was A Night in Raleigh

Twinkling little lights
captured my attention
stars about the night

A celebration
clinking glasses
over charcuterie

I walked to the window
once formalities are done
I gaze downward

My eyes are drawn
to the thrift shop
on the corner

Bright lights spill
to the sidewalk
an elder struts his girth

Another day of gratitude
to make a scuff and repast
to take the flavors in

And we haven’t had dessert
but the man wrapped
in the blue blanket
sleeping on the bench
warmed to a cotton-filled dream
which was just enough to forget
the planets did not align
for him or his kind

Sprinkle, twinkle
make a fire in the barrel
warm the hearts
of humanity

Dessert is best served
to those who deserve
the sweetness
let him have mine

An Uncertain Life

he cuts through the night
with the sharpest knife he finds
from his busy mind

fast pacing his life
he stumbled over leaf piles
not noting the signs

waiting for the train
a kitten rubs against him
he shoos her away

coffee and bagel
riding the speed track subway
ready to get off

panhandler plays harp
he calls his job to check-in
stops dead in his tracks

what he heard is how
this day ends all his ventures
now he’s on his own

he sits on a bench
full of angst stares at his cell
not sure what to do

he stands up and looks
at all that surrounds him now
could he be the man

with harmonica
maybe the bagel schmear guy
how about those leaves

blowing, floating, gone
they’re no longer in his path
lost at the turning


Lisa Tomey is a poet, writer, & publisher from Raleigh, NC. She is an editor for Fine Lines and manager of the poetry circle of the Garden of Neuro Institute. Follow her on & Lisa was featured twice on The Short of It – May 2020 and October 2020. Her piece, Silence, featured in the first anthology – The Sound of Brilliance, and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.


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Duane L. Herrmann


The hills are alive
with coyote chorus
excited tipping
of the young’uns
rolling over prairies
on the winds
as full moon shines
her silvery glow.
This is their land too.


Clear cold days
to wake the face:
bright sun
with no warmth
of no mind
for comfort
as winter
freezes on.


All have red blood,
and pumping heart.
All cry in pain
or distress.
Though varieties,
life is united
in simple ways –
why can we not see
these unities?


Memories can change
be overlaid,
gain new meaning,
a friend they weren’t
but effort,
must be made.


Daddy said he loved us
with all his heart, and cried,
then said to face the wall – quiet!

Then he brought the little ones
and told them to stand too.

He went up the line
one head at a time…


I ran!


The sign warns:
“Clean floors
prevent accidents.”

Just as truly
it can advise and mean:

      and mean:

prevent clean floors.”
True too!


The work of Duane L. Herrmann has been published in print and online, in over a hundred journals, more than fifty anthologies, plus seven volumes of poetry, more chapbooks, a history, and a sci-fi novel; all despite a traumatic, abusive childhood embellished with dyslexia, ADHD, cyclothymia, an anxiety disorder, and PTSD. Duane was first featured on June 19, 2020, and again on December 4, 2020. Some of his thoughts were also selected and published in The Sound of Brilliance. His latest feature was posted on June 24, 2022.


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Charles Randolph

In the Old Days

When the sun begins to go down
And the smell of dusk appears
Along with the crickets and mosquitos
And the loudness of summer
The warmth of yesteryears come alive
And past scenes spring out into the forefront of my mind
Remembering cool, tall glasses of Momma’s lavender lemonade
And feeling giddy as my mouth is awash with flavor
I reminisce on the ache of youth awaiting a transition to adulthood
And my soul is back home
I find myself wishing for those playful, uninhibited days
And then I hear Dad yell
“I need help with your mother, Son!”

A Walk in the Park

Rosie, my cheerful companion, tethered to me willingly
She barks with joy at leaves flutter up into the wind
Rustled alive with each step taken

We’re alone in the park today, odd but welcome
No other yapping to be heard or big dogs’ trajectory to avoid
I release her and watch her run free with abandon

I wonder if Rosie is sad to have missed her friends
Is she happy it’s just us or does she even care at all
Who knows what goes through a dog’s head

Her business done, chased balls caught and returned
She pants hard, taking more and more breaks
It’s time to return home

Please Don’t Forget

The mail is on the table
Take it with you, eh
Give Robert my regards
Pick up my prescription, would you
And while you’re out, go to the Metro, please
Would you get me some strawberries
And grab today’s newspaper
And maybe something for tomorrow’s dinner

Please, don’t look at me like that
I’m sorry I’m in a wheelchair too


Charles Randolph, retired and a sometime poet, lives in Canada. He has a parrot and a cockatiel for companionship. This is Charles’ first feature on The Short of It.


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Longing For The Past

Originally published PhiloSusi 6/16/14. Posted on I Write Her on May 9, 2018, with slight revisions.

Zhong Yang Huang – Joy and sorrow

uninvited days of the past
appear at the door of my present
they push inside
to fill the heaviness in the room
a smile begins to form on my weary face
uninhibited laughter
passionate entanglements
mundane and easy tasks
all flickering a pretty picture
actively watching
the gloriously faded memories
now vividly replaying in my mind
but the door closes eventually
and i’m again
fully toiling in the sorrow
which summoned another life
tears, uninvited, fall silently
the wetness glazes over the joy
images from a previous time
return for safe-keeping
until my mind summons them

Thoughts Of You

at least five times a day
but more like twenty
i pass the nooks in my home
special places filled with treasures of connection

a beacon of warmth
emerges and spreads in me
as memories of times past
fill my head and my heart

i always wonder
if the dearest to me know
their pictures, cards and curios
spark a friendly smile on my face

i’m thinking of us in those moments
remembering our joy together
knowing their love connects us
and that our distance could never diminish it

my heart puffs up
with a deep caring for those special people in my life
the bits of them ensconced in the various mementos
they remind me daily of the support i have around me

i will never be lonely
when all i have to do is open my eyes
their precious art, gifts and trinkets surround me
their love always in my presence

Tracks To The Past

Inspired by Sadje’s What do you see #63 & The Sunday Whirl #489

when memories present
in the silence of my room
i check my expectations at the door
my spine gets comfortable
as i delve deep into the bank of the past
the risk of emotions is high
will my cheeks remain dry
i hear the clunk of metal gears
hobos sleeping in rail cars
their lives in a haze
while i play in the train yard
i wonder in my head where they are now