Fall 2021 (3.2)

Photo credit: Marissa Herndon

Dear Readers,

Speckled Trout Review’s Fall 2021 (3.2) publication is a print issue on the theme of childhood memories. The poems, while striking universal themes, evoke emotions as varied as childhood memories tend to be, going beyond compilations of images, cutting to deeper meanings that are very much alive in the present. To order a copy of Fall 2021 (3.2), readers can contact STR at speckledtroutreview@hotmail.com. Please put order in the subject line. Single issue: $10.00.


Kevin J. McDaniel, Founder of Speckled Trout Review
Nancy Dillingham, Associate Editor

Featured poets: Milton Bates, Roger Camp, Ed Davis, Jo Angela Edwins, Charity Everitt, Linda Freeman, Robert Gibb, Nels Hanson, Peggy Heitmann, Karen Kilcup, Mary Kurtz, Jayne Marek, Mary Paulson, Sherry Poff, Jessica Purdy, Carol Sadtler, Carla Sarett

Newsboy, 1963

“Stand downtown and holler ‘Kennedy’s dead.’
You’ll sell a million and get rich, kid.”
I couldn’t do it—way too shy.
But I loved the circulation man’s
buzz cut, the smirking cigarette
he held in his Elvis-curled lip.
When Mom sprang Dad from jail,
he passed forever from our grasp.
At school, Miss L. paused thoughtfully
beside my desk as if to speak, changed
her mind and slapped me instead.
The burn at the back of my tongue
lingered long past Dad’s absence.
The alley beneath our window—
a jagged crack of black after dark—
attracted drunks, lovers and toughs.
Mom said I’d find her there some-
day when she’d had enough and jumped.
Like Xmas, birthdays and Dad’s return,
the day of her suicide stayed safely away.
I rode my route and hurled the names:
Johnson, Bobby and Richard Speck;
Castro, Khrushchev and Malcolm X,
devoured the news with my Frosted Flakes:
Dick Tracy meets Moon Maid,
more than a president passes away.
For his birthday, I bought my circulation
man a jar of Butch’s hairwax,
then chickened out, fearing he’d sneer,
“Ain’t you the kid too shy to sell
papers the day Kennedy was killed?”
But buying the goop was good enough.
It’d be the same as the secret
I shared with my teacher, Miss L.
Best not to say who we love or hate;
not all the news is fit to print or say.

Ed Davis’s stories, essays, and poems have appeared in Leaping Clear, Hawaii Pacific Review, and Bacopa Literary Review. He lives with his wife in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Kentucky Bourbon

hid in the bathroom 
closet, high above 
the frayed towels 
and faded washrags, 
tucked behind things 
only women would use— 
cold cream, maxi-pads— 
so my father wouldn’t find it, 
wouldn’t drain its sweet 
alcoholic bite 
and make the quiet 
of our tiny house 
disappear like flowers 
in wildfire. 
My mother’s one 
to the liquored life,  
the smoky warmth 
she used to soak 
her Christmas cakes 
baked with candied 
cherries, sugared raisins, 
pecans she gathered 
herself alone 
along the hills 
of our country yard, 
grass so green 
it tilted toward the blue 
of her childhood Kentucky, 
four hundred miles 
away. Unless it was Christmas, 
she worked away 
from the house, in town 
or outside in our yard. 
She watched the day darken 
like the shell of a cake 
soaking in the whiskey, 
like the moods of all  
the men she knew who 
grew sad and afraid  
of the things that could happen 
when the sun fell like stone 
from a bloodied winter sky. 

A South Carolina native, Jo Angela Edwins serves as poet laureate of the Pee Dee region of the state. She has received awards from Winning Writers, Poetry Super Highway, and SC Academy of Authors.

A Burial on Emery Ridge

When the city was a frail cluster huddled in the valley
beyond the near hills and no road ran between,
you climbed with me to this ridge, this long finger
of the mountain stretched like a benediction into the dusk.
“A good place to watch the change of stars,” you said.
At the base of the last cliff, among boulders thrown down
like discarded prayers, we searched for twigs and found,
in a crevice deep like an old wound, a crude pot
the color of earth, holding charred bones, red flint bird-point,
and four shell beads for the passage. 
In a circle of borrowed stones we made our fire,
talked of antiquity and the names of stars.
Tonight the city swamps the valley end to end
and licks at the root of the mountain. 
My child and I bring you to the top of this ridge,
to the circle of stones below the cliff.
The box, gray as dead fire, goes easily into the wall;
the pot has become the color of rock. 
By our thin fire we watch the valley dissolve into sky. 
I name her the names of ridge and canyon,
tell her the stories of stars.

Charity Everitt’s poems have appeared in Lyrical Iowa, Comstock Review, River Heron Review, Cimarron Review, and Her Words. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.


1. Tide Charts, Dunedin, Florida, 1958
Paraplegic since Normandy,
My uncle Furman, released from
His wheelchair at the water’s edge,
Scuttles backward into the surf,
Dead legs furrowing the sand.
Clears the combers shawling
About his shoulders, and is out there
Floating in the sun-struck Gulf.
“You’d have a hard time holding
Him under”—my father’s take
On that wave-berthed figure whose   
Sea change impresses us both,
Though for me he’s less maimed
Survivor, buoyed by his swim,
And more sub-mariner. I watch him
Lounging upon the waters
From the waist up, his broad chest
Like a channel marker riding
The swells. And now, decades after
His suicide, watch him treading
Above the under-currents where
The tables of the tide keep turning.

2. Mass Evacuation, Nags Head, 1960
All week I prowled those wind-
Ridged dunes, wearing the khaki
Flight helmet my cousin claimed
Came from a fighter pilot who
Ditched his Spitfire in the drink.
Part of my beachcombing get-up,
That vacation we kept an eye
On the weather that would send
Us packing, striking the set
Of our yearly seaside drama
Featuring my father and the bottle,
My stepmother’s bottled-up,
Close-quarters rage. What we left
Looked remnant already—
Buildings boarded shut, beaches
Tide-lined with debris. Hurricane
Donna hurrying us home
Where our storms ran their usual
Courses among our usual run
Of days. It would be years before
I could even hope to assess
The actual extent of the damage.

Robert Gibb is the author of Sightlines (Poetry Press, 2021), his thirteenth full-length poetry collection, and winner of the 2019 Prize Americana for Poetry.



%d bloggers like this: