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My love of learning surpassing my fear of voice, I took in caretaking, books, words like snow. No one tried to smash me in the shed. There were so many birds on that island, and if most of them were black with a glint they had carried from other, deeper fires.

And if their voices were harsher than language can sing to make sense, that was nothing to us then.

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We were not yearning for the savor of coffee or a glass of good wine. We just wanted to live like trees do, as non-selves; we wanted to hum like certain rocks seem to, the rocks that inhabit their own weight, rocks we might build our house with to dream in. So we wake and remember the flares we lit with the flint of our bones and shot at the night-sky: Light so rare and true it seemed to become its own small star. Then we saw the constellations. His work has appeared in numerous journals, including OrionPoetry EastPloughsharesPrairie Schoonerand Notre Dame Reviewand he has collaborated extensively with visual artists and musicians.

The tragedies are manageable: Placing this sleeping plant in the light of an East facing window, I slip two ice cubes on its dirt, wondering if it shivers with the initial cold that touches its nodes, its roots, its glossy flat leaves, full of quiet green insight. Will this be the dream I force in winter when I cannot control the flow of air? Will I hold on to the possibilities? Who will heed my words?

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I must trust myself. Sinceshe has been a teaching artist, working with students, K, in Rochester, NY, and surrounding area. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin, NY. It falls with a kick, with a Casino Play Legit Online Games For Cash pushing down, and who knows what sideways forces? After a trip Stake Casino Fiz Reviews Of My Pillow the dentist, I see the left side of my face sag like an old pair of socks; even smiling hurts.

Finally, my old face lifts and returns. Yet days later, my cheek still tingles, the bruise of the deed under cover of flesh and muscle. She teaches poetry writing at The Mill: A Place for Writers. I step across the threshold of my studio and the world falls away behind me. Steeped in the fragrances of fabric sizing, dyes, sparkly papers, ink, I can think and reap. Hot tea to drink while I paste paper fishes on a mottled blue background that feed on acrylics. Metal snails, starfish sewn on a quilt block of patched blues.

Embroidered branches on polished cottons, skeins of floss laid out, grouped by color on a silver tray. I embroider the world. She ran away from the hurricanes of South Florida to be surprised by the earthquakes and tornadoes of rural central Virginia, where she writes poetry and does fabric and paper art. Jan Chronister lives and writes in the woods near Maple, Wisconsin. She is currently serving as president of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.

They come like dreams in which all the troubles have already passed through them. Planting the garden in the spring.

The idea of it without the actual planting of it starts, seeds in rows and squares, then hauling rocks for the borders. Soon sunflowers are grown giant and cosmos growing light as air itself, delicate enough for any of us to imitate.

How easy to sketch them in a living room chair at night, draw how they grow from the memory of them. The willowy and the green. The sycamore trees in the backyard protecting the house from heat and everything else.

Things that keep our passions from falling away.

That bring what comes to belong here with us. What we sit with and see up close. Wrens outside the window so small they are almost not there at all, hummingbirds moving constantly and then gone. Afterwards some brown rice and black beans, steamed greens, green tea.

What stays with us, What moves with us. The colorful and the light.

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What makes things right. Her writing has appeared in many magazines — most recently, a series of poems in Poetry EastWeber — the Contemporary West and Sugar Mule. One summer, at the seething lap of ocean on the shore, I heard a new speech of permanence murmuring.

I looked for hieroglyphs in bird, stone, shell, from That which holds us each between vanishings. The mist descended in fine veils, stitching itself to sea, and I walked the dampening edges, my breath blooming wet, oneness seeping into me.

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Rachel Dacus is the author of Gods of Water and Aira collection of poetry, prose, and drama, and the poetry collections Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau. Real Ghazals in English.

Her time travel novel involving the great Baroque sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini is forthcoming from Fiery Seas Publishing. He has also published several Western short stories. I know now that I want to kiss red, the red girl across the street, all fringe with red insight, alight with the weight of red. I think of you, and the way we read each other, star-bone kind of red, and that our hearts in the jumpy bang bang of red heaving Maryland Live Thunder Valley Casino Breakfast Buffet the score of red notes.

It wears me down to a jittery red. Having whirled from red hands, I sense the red I cannot grasp. All this red before that endless loosening. I want this red to last, but Red teaches baton lessons. Red says it feels like being in high school again.

Red permeated our lives, red laid out on sofas, our lives latched to the red next door. That was how I turned sky red. Now I wield my own red fire. There will be no more red hiding. Once a week we talk on the phone.

The garage yields an old fishing sweater, a pair of dull nail clippers hidden in a pocket. Today, as we talk, she reports a woodpecker banging away at the house. It started as order, like any disorder: Scars like lace, spinal delineation calcite toughening. Brittle gnashing of teeth against my skin. I would not eat: His hand, my mouth open.

His hand, my eyes shut. A scale, my fate. I floated weightless and without wings. No bird singing no song. Not even a note. The jars fit, just so: And I wanted to hold them hold me. Emily Bowles is a poet, teacher, and freelance writer in Appleton, WI. Jumbo snowflakes clanned together at dawn into a thirty-minute stipulation, a warning not to plant peas today. During morning rush outside the school, parents planned to be somewhere else.

Like the tiniest flakes of gold that keep the pan moving in a melt-swollen river as hints of reward Stake Casino Fiz Reviews Of My Pillow downstream, this snowstorm never stuck. My nugget from the Berlin wall. Piles of cliff-side rubble from the blasted Afghan Buddhas of Bamiyan. Grit that sifts through fingers at the sand box. Healing may settle in like fine gold dust that sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Or float like the short-term snowflake that melts on the would-be daffodil. Or insist you befriend both the whole and fragment Buddhas. Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet whose work appears widely in journals and anthologies. Broadfork Farm will come out from The Poetry Box in summer The rain tells us that we are drops of water in the cloud whitened sky, that if we listen to the beating of our hearts, two becomes one, if we listen to a stranger, two becomes one.

And the meadow with its green air tells us that we are each enfolded with its blades of grass, blessed by the earth who is our mother. In the silence we are all faced with, we enter our interior where there is history with its conflicts and discords but where tensions can dissolve and the continents are joined, where one is many and where time has left its messages for us to contemplate.

Saffron remains lathered in the air. A refrain tightened by thought retreats slowly inside my ears until it is finally muted and lost.

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Might give the theatre another whirl during my long evenings, that seem to be starting late afternoon lol.

I was in bed for It was difficult to ignore my 4. Gosh they are noisy those kettles — or was it my head that was a little sensitive?!

Her simple response to that knock back was that I should ask them to bring some hot toast. But my explanation of the fact that the room service steward has to carry it from the galley, all the way forward to C deck, plus make some other deliveries on the way was lost on her.

I begrudgingly introduced myself to the shower and the White linen toiletries and within 20 mins I looked almost human again. I asked for a table for two because Im not feeling very sociable. My request was met but the table was not an easy location to negotiate with a wheelchair.

We were soon seated, wheelchair was whisked away for safe keeping and cheerful waiter appears and offers tea or coffee. Mum was straight in with her request of apple juice, bacon egg and tomato not forgetting the toast and marmalade! Melon followed by fruit and fibre did me just fine. You will be pleased to hear that the toast was warm and met with Mums approval.

Mum was tired after her early morning efforts to wake me so she is currently checking the insides of her eyelids! My funny story of the morning was an elderly lady that I bumped into on deck 5 forward by the stairs.

She was looking very bewildered so I asked if I could help. She looked up and pointed to the green Exit sign just inside the corridor, which pointed in towards the stairwell and lifts. She was stood looking around by the lifts looking for the door to outside. I explained, as best as I could that we were inboard, so she cant get out, plus there is no open deck on deck 5 and she needed deck 7.

Anyone know a good travel agent?! Noon announcement from the bridge has just finished. I can only guess that the officer of the watch was on some sort of a challenge because he was coming out with some pretty random facts. I would have liked to have know what the weather forcast was but all we were told was that its currently 15 degs.

At least its calm and we are nearly out of the Bay of Biscuits. Mum is now awake, and she has decided its lunch time, so we must go in search of food. Peninsular restaurant it was. I had the healthy option of lentil soup followed by berries with fromage frais for desert, but I had a little less healthy option of mousaka in between. The food was hot and nicely presented, just as breakfast was. I have known Enrico for many years now, so I think he is qualified to tell me what I should be drinking.

I liked it so much I bought the bottle and it will be available in the Freedom dining restaurant for me later. After lunch we perused the shops for what must be the 7th time in less than 24 hrs! Kings Speech was on in Malabar and it was packed out. Hopefully they will show it again later in the cruise and I get to see it. We walked through deck 15 buffet dining areas and immediately a Head Waiter asked how I was.

How do they do that? I was surprised at how many people were sat on deck and in the pool. It really is chilly, overcast and quite windy. Back in the cabin now and my bed is calling me. I wonder how long I have? Well, it was one hour and 3 minutes to be precise! And a very nice little snooze it was too. Back to my lap top for a bit more stressing over internet connection or total lack of it in the cabin. I keep being advised that too many users are online.

Blake and Ancy my right hand IT and Media experts have been superb at trying to sort me and my internet out, and I think it might have something to do with the age profile of pax onboard hence the high amount of people on line. Either that or its an excuse! So still no work done for me! Its Captains Gala Reception this evening, and somehow we were both ready 45 minutes ahead of schedule.

Decided to go and chill in Glass House with a glass or two of Canadin Fizz. Mum was more than happy to sit and watch all the dresses parade through. I decided I could beat the system by getting into Freedom dining before the party got started properly, but when I turned up at the restaurant I was told it would be at least 9. Enough waiter passed me but more with empty trays than full. His cheap fizz would have only spoilt my Canadian Fizz. Went into dinner a little nervous at the thought of sharing a table, but we were so lucky, it was a fab table.

We all had a good laugh and a natter and I want to sit with them every night now. It was very late when we left the restaurant, about I had a wander through deck 7. Lots dancing in the Atrium and Malabar. Bradley Walsh I think it was Bradley? I headed up to Planet Bar but it was packed. No chance of my seat at the bar I thought. But straight away the bartender spotted me and waived me in. A bar stool was located for me and people at the bar made room for me.

A nice Appletini to start off with. It looked like Iceland to me and I was correct. I was soon chatting away to Mary and John to the other side of me and several Cosmos and a southern comforts later I decided it was time for bed.

Oh dear 10 to 3 in the morning. Im going to regret that in a few hours time! But a very enjoyable evening.

Bliss, I got a lie in until 8. I couldnt face the bun fight buffet so suggested to mum thaty she got up and we went to breakfast in Peninsular. We made it by 9. Straight out onto Breakers and got my usual spot. Laid there in the sun until lunch time. It was Sunday and dint want to exert myself. I had a delicious lemon chicken baguette from the Grill and Mum had the fish goujons. It was getting very hot by now so we retreated to the cabin, so mum could lie down.

I had to have another few issues with the new internet log in, but Blake and Ancy were again superb and sorted me out. I have been such a pain, but at least we have had a few laughs too. Its baking hot on the balcony. So hot that it can only be dealt with in short bursts. But its a lovely way to spend Sunday afternoon. Semi Formal night tonight, or the new wording is Smart — Jacket required.

Gone of the days of cocktail dresses thats for sure, and a lot of men without jackets. I honestly thought I had read the dress code wrong but I checked with ents team on theatre doors and I was correct.

Went down to Freedom dining at 7. We got allocated a table of 10 which was too big for mum. The table were struggling to communicate and mum only wanted a main course but had to wait for the other 9 to be served two courses before she could eat. So it was a long meal for her and wanted her bed by the time we were out of there.

I headed for my usual place in Planet Bar and it was packed with everyone watching a stunning sunset at the stern. Straight away the lads found me a bar stool and cosmo was served. Fair play to the barstaff, they were trying to ensure that dress code was upheld and that gents who entered were wearing a jacket. Later in the evening, as it got warm, Alan and John slipped their jackets off and hung them on the back of a barstool. We were mid conversation, when a rude man appeared and asked where their jackets were.

He was clearly not happy because he had been sent away to get one, or choose another bar. Top marks to the barstaff because thats the way it should be. Jackets required is what it says. He was clearly trying to cause a lot of aggravation and went off around the room checking for jackets. Personally I cant see what was wrong with Semi Formal? It was about 2. Manhattan was packed and playing some very loud thumping music. There were teens out on deck, teens congregated in the photo gallery, there were alot everywhere.

Non of them doing any harm or causing any mischief from what I could see but just enjoying themselves. Yes, we are still at sea. Seems a long run down to the med this time. Connection to the internet in the cabin on wifi is causing me major issues, a problem I have never had before, but this new fangled way of internet usage is meaning some are taking all the bandwidth — ooh get me and my new learnt lingo!

I will be a total expert by the time I get of this ship thanks to Ancy and Blake. Gold Portunas lunch today and you all know how much I love them! Bring on the days of my super special Ligurian event, and slippers!!

So 12 noon, and the Goldies are gathering outside the Medridian restaurant. Table 97 for us and what will that bring I wonder. Well, we had the fortune of a lovely host by the name of Danielle who runs the Whitewall gallery, plus one other couple. Danielle was lovely and certainly saved the day, but as I have said for a long long time these events are no longer that special to those of us that cruise frequently.

There were no words from the Captian for us. Mr C will be delighted to learn that I have managed to offload my lovely shiny Portunus gift. Mr C curses the little blue boxes at home that take up space in every random draw he seems to open. So yes, lunch was very pleasant, but not something I needed a couple of hours after getting out of my bed. Back to my laptop and still I cant connect. I just want to sit in a dark room and cry now.

Unfortunately for Ancy its time for me to visit her again. She reaches for the phone and pages Blake. They really are absolute stars. Their patience is amazing. Blake refuses to give up on me and he is well on his way to going beyond the extra 10 miles for me. Every time I leave the library I know he must be hoping its the last time lol. But in a nice way because I know he and Ancy just genuinely want my internet issues to be resolved, or a solution worked out and I can carry on as normal enjoying my holiday and keeping on top of my work.

The sun was balsting on the balcony. As it had been all day, so I grabbed and hour. But then made the fatal mistake of fetching a Cuba Libra and by the time I got back the sun had gone over the top of the ship. Time to check out my duvet and mattress then! Sleep time was good. I managed to grab a whole hour.

Formal night tonight and I decided it was time we paid a visit to Blue Bar for my Garden Tea martini. Had to settle for a cosmo. Linda and Chris joined us for a pre dinner drink, so that made for more than a pleasant change. Enjoyed it so much we had two pre dinner drinks. I also spotted that they served my Canadian fizz in there too so I had a glass of that. Mum was in her element watching all the formal gowns coming and going up the Atrium stairs.

Chris was despatched for a bleeper to Freedom dining, but he failed in his mission because the queue was massive. I went to see what I could do and found that the blonde hair and eyelashes helped. Cher tribute was on in Manhattan, not as busy as the other tribute acts so I managed to see a snippet of her before venturing up to Planet Bar. I was only going to have the one drink but then Sid offered to make me my Garden Martini.

That turned into two. John and Mary went to bed and I was seriously considering it, but to late another drink had arrived. Two blokes were annoying me at the bar, just speaking about me and clearly were out without their other halves and presuming I was on the pull or something. Those sort of blokes really wind me up! I was glad when they left, but could see their reflections out in the stairwell and the one decided he was coming back for another try.

He seemed quite put out with my brush off, which was quite blunt, the bartender clocked it and he looked after me. Thats another member of staff who have gone the extra mile for me. I cant quite understand why the nights are getting shorter? How come there is no time for sleeping? My early morning wake up announcement from the next bed informed me that I needed to get up.

We have to go to breakfast! The sun is blazing through the balcony doors and its scorching on the balcony. Its not even 8. I scraped into breakfast at 5 to 9 just before doors closed. Lots of tea later I was starting to wake up. I have never seen anything like it.

The queue went right round deck 6 atrium and back through Brodies. We went back to the cabin to avoid that one. I think it was just a combination of docking later, first port, 3 days at sea and them all needing to set foot on land. By the time we were ready to go ashore there was no hint of any queues. We walked straight off, assisted all the way through the airbridge by two wheelchair pushers, through the terminal building and straight onto a bus.

The Barcelona ground crew suggested I board the next bus first with mum and he kept everyone back while I got her on the bus under her own time. Las Ramblas was hot and packed as usual! Not very many living statues though so there was no little bottle necks as I tried to pass them. I was paranoid about getting my bag lifted but a handy little pocket in the back of mums wheelchair meant I could stow it away out of sight.

We walked two thirds of the way up las Ramblas, through the shopping precinct, round the top and back down the length of las Ramblas. That was enough excitement for one day. Back down to the shuttle buses and straight onto the wheelchair adapted one and straight back to the ship. Upto Breakers Bar for a long cold drink. It was getting on for 2. Even the pool below was empty. Thats just how I like my ships! Cocktail of the day was a Hurricane so it went down very nicely.

No queuing at Frankies Grill today either and mum had her usual fish goujons and I opted for the chicken and bacon baguette, washed down by a second Hurricane. We really were melting so it was retreat to the cabin. I could see we were about to loose the sun on our side and sure enough, by the time I had changed and cooled down, the sun had popped over the top of the ship and cast a shadow on our balcony.

Mum had a snooze so I escaped to the Terrace Bar right at the back of the ship and baked for 10 minutes while I sipped on another Hurricane. Time for a snooze after my busy day, lol. Casual night tonight and oh boy do some take that literally! I managed to slip in my glass of Canadian fizz en route to dinner. Dinner was very quiet tonight due to the Indian Buffet upstairs. We had a nice table again and lovely meal.

I had a lovely meal of Salmon followed by strawberry shortbread. Zoe Tyler was on in the theatre and people kept telling me how good her first show was, so I wanted to see her. Her show was packed with standing room only. I stood at the back but it was so warm I had to leave after about three songs, but yes, she was indeed excellent and well worth going to see if you get the chance.

Malabar was also packed out with a comedian, and there was a lot of laughing going on so can only presume he was good too.

Planet Bar for me, and John and Mary were already there. I told them all about my experiences from the night before. Sid made us some excellent cocktails again including a Raspberry Creme brule which was like a meal in a glass, and a lovely margarita with salt rim.

Time for bed and I was escorted by John and Mary to keep me out of trouble. We went via deck 7 and was going to walk along the outside. Oh my goodness how many teens were out there smoking. The deck was rammed and we struggled to get by. I would also guess that some of them had been drinking too so maybe supplies were obtained ashore?! Oh dear, grey skys and a bit of drizzle but its early. I couldnt be bothered to make the effort to get breakfast in the restaurant so I braved a walk upto self service and acquired some toast and a couple of pastries.

The complimentary shuttle service is greatly appreciated though. There was already a queue for the wheelchair adapted one, so we opted for the non adapted coach and two gentlemen very kindly moved from the front seat to allow mum to be seated without too much hassle. It is a long boring drive into Toulon, hampered by stop start traffic. Mum has a unique way of marking her ports of call for enjoyment, and for Mum Toulon scored 11 out of Which loosly translates to she got plenty of bargains on the market.

It is a nice little market and a pleasant enough shopping street. Back through the harbour and we joined the queue for the bus back to Azura. We were quite lucky and we were only one shuttle bus length back, but the queue soon formed because all the shuttle bus drivers appeared to be in lunch, and loads of buses were parked up on the side of the car park. We managed to get on the second bus back, but by then the queue was way back across the car park and back to the gates.

A lot of fed up looking passengers. The drive back was a little quicker than getting there at around 25 mins, but just as we stepped off the bus the heavens opened and we got drowned running to the front of the ship for the wheelchair access gangway.

We had a lovely lovely evening, and a nice meal with lots of chatter. It sounds simple enough to understand, but the mixture of bold and normal print in the daily newssheet leans more towards the casual, and I feel thats what a lot of people dressed as last time. So tonight passengers have been warned that gents must wear a jacket if dining in Peninsular, oriental or Meridian, and drinking in Blue bar, Planet and somewhere else which I cant recall.

There were certainly plenty dressed the same throughout the ship later too. A lot of people were heading for Rome tomorrow so many had taken to their beds early. They had been to XVII for a meal this evening and said it was superb. I will get to try that place one day. Alann decided to grace us with his presence this evening so he some catching up to do with all the recent events of dodgy men at the bar etc lol.

Its a hot one today! I had looked out and had wrongly presumed we were berthed a little closer to the port gate this time, so after breakfast in the Peninsular restaurant we went ashore nice and early. Well, it might not be far to walk on a normal day, but in the searing heat, complete with a delicate little hangover, and the sun blasting onto me, it felt like a trek across the desert.

When I eventually reached the port gates I recalled that the precinct was on a slight incline and I had to push the wheelchair up it. Oh boy this market had better be open when I got there.

Thankfully it was, and it was in the shade, which was bliss and greatly appreciated. A bottle of ice cold water would have been appreciated more but Mum was on a mission. Bags and shiney things to be looked at. She managed 3 handbags and a necklace today. Not paying more than 12 euros for any of them. I got a lovely white sparkly kaftan swimwear coverup for 5 euros and a much needed fushia pink handbag, for 10 euros.

So we were able to leave happy after a successful shopping mission. I was hoping to get the bus back to the ship, but once we were through the port gate the pavement was very uneven and difficult to negotiate with a wheelchair. There were people getting off buses and people clambering to get on buses, with 5 ships it was too chaotic and I gave up within about 30 seconds. Yes, I walked all the way back again. I really am crackers. Mum opted for her bed, I opted for a very quick change, my sunlounger up by breakers and a cocktail.

A Missionarys Downfall to be precise and very nice it was too! Im really surprised at how many people have stayed onboard today. Civitavecchia usually means an empty ship but not today. I keep the suntan lotion and cocktail levels nicely topped up, and also keep checking on mum. I bought her back on deck for some lunch but it was too hot for her so I pushed her into the shade for a while. Then I started to melt, so had to do something about it and went and sat in the shade for a while.

As I wandered over to the railings for a nosey I felt a lovely breeze. Oh it was bliss, so I parked mum against the railings and she was happy watching the passengers arrive back on the buses and supervising the workmen who have been extending the harbour defence for over 12 months now.

I laid on my lounger and let the breeze glide over me, oh it was heaven. I kept nodding off, goodness whats wrong with me, anyone would think I trekked into town this morning.

Mum needed her bed again, so I took her back down and then came back to my sunlounger. I put the light out and I was gone in nanao seconds. Trouble was a woke up dribbling which is never good.

Disaster when I got to the cabin and could see that I had caught the sun all the way down one side of my face and not the other. Have to sort that out tomorrow. Casual night tonight and a suitable maxi dress was sorted for me, but mum was not so easy to please with her choice of wear this evening.

A much welcomed, nice relaxing pre dinner drink or two in Glass House. This has become one of my favourite spots for pre dinner drinks. Lots of people watching opportunities as they come and go to the various locations, so plenty of dress code watching opportunities and there were some interesting ones this evening. Went for dinner in the Meridian at about 10 past 8, after stopping for a photo in the Atrium.

Not so sure it will be to my liking in casual attire but thought I would give it a go. Very pleasant table for 8 this evening, and a lovely meal again. Dover sole was very nice, treacle tart was very fattening.

A little browse of the shops but it was toy sale night so nothing much to see. We walked through Brodies and it was busy as usual. This was our usual hang out last time we were on Azura but it just seems too busy this time around for me to even consider. After mum was in bed I went for my usual little wander.

I was at Planet Bar before Mary and John this evening. I asked Sid for something long cold and fruity and he obliged with a Raspberry Mojhito. Everyone is tired this evening, the heat of Civitavecchia has zapped us all, plus lots of people had spent the day in Rome, so the ship in general was quiet. I had my earliest night ever of the cruise and headed for my bed before 1. We have berthed port side too again today so no quay side for us to observe, but I do think we might get the sun this afternoon.

We have been port side too in every port apart from Barcelona so far. MSC Sinfonia has just come in and berthed behind us. We have a clear view across the bay and I expect the sun to be on our side later this afternoon. After a bit of breakfast out on the aft Terrace we ventured ashore.

At last they have dragged the Naples terminal building into the 21st century, although I did quite like the charm of the old fashioned little shop units within the original terminal. Its now more of a designer oultlet. Some very nice shoe and fashion stores and nice jewellery etc. We were back onboard within half an hour and sat at Breakers bar enjoying a large rum punch. It is very very hot again, but there is an occasional gentle breeze just wafting across the deck. It is a struggle to sit it out though and we manage it until noon when we go down a deck for a spot of lunch in the shade.

But then Headliners started to rehearse for tonights deck party. Blimeys, I know it was a sound check, but I hope it sounds better on the night!! Had to get away from that din. Back down to the cabin and result — the balcony is in full blown sunshine. Mum has her bed to curl up in, I have the balcony to sunbathe on and I can nip in and out to check my emails from my laptop.

Decided this afternoon would be a good time to do some laundry. No, I got that wrong! It was extremely busy in there! I stood around and waited for a washer, and I did get lucky with a tumble dryer becoming free when I needed one.

Some people looked like they were doing a weeks wash for a family of four in there. I just did the essentials and got out. Most strenuous thing I did was walk a few yards to the laundrette.

Tropical Party tonight, so tropical gear was donned, well for me a long bright dress. We are dining together so I am despatched to obtain the bleeper. This is where Freedom dining falls down for me.

We are enjoying some pre dinner drinks and we know that we want to dine as a party of 7. Not quite ready now, so try and pre empt the situation by trying to get a bleeper for a table becoming ready between say 8.

But no, restaurant manager informs me it cant be done. We can go in now — but we are all enjoying a drink, or we can come down when we are ready and take pot luck. Isnt that a bit antiquated? We did go down at about 10 past 8, so as to avoid the 8. Trouble was it was right under an airvent and it was very chilly.

It was like the north wind blowing down on mum and I had to go back to the cabin and get her a woolly cardigan. We had a lovely meal again and lots of fun.

I decided to retreat to Planet Bar and enjoyed a quiet couple of drinks sat at the bar. The ship had got that little bit of a bobble on and the gentle rocking was making me sleepy.

For me it was an early night, but it was good to snuggle under my duvet. It was even early enough for me to comprehend and order some room service breakfast. My eyes opened at about 5. Next thing I knew room service was knocking on the door at 8. Yay, toast was still warm so race was on to get it buttered for mum before it went cold.

I enjoyed my cornflakes and juice out on the balcony as we made our approach to Ajaccio. It was a stunning sail in. We had a helicopter along side, presumably taking photos for a brochure or a video perhaps.

Im sure we have always been at tender here, but looks like they have built a new berth because we docked. Starboard side to, too.

The church bells were ringing, we are overlooking the harbour and it is just stunning. And I can see the market is open today so Mum will be happy. Napoleon and his men came down to the quayside to great us.

They did a little parade and a changing of the guard. Only trouble was they decided to put two of Napoleons guards on the main gangway, and do a changing of the guard every few minutes.

They looked very impressive but were causing a bit of chaos by the main gangway with everyone wanting photos with them as they came down the gangway.

They drummed on their drums and marched about for a bit before retreating back through the port gates. It was packed, the alleys were too tight and it was all on raised pavements with kerbs to negotiate all the time.

Not easy with a wheelchair. I walked all the way back across the square and tried to cut down to the beach along a side street but the pavements were just ridiculous. Very uneven, and the stupid French had parked their mopeds on the pavements! So instead I walked along the road and held up all the traffic. Lots of inviting little cafes and bars in the harbour, but no Mr C to share the experience with so straight back to the ship.

Poor lad was horrified! So I felt obliged to retreat to Breakers Bar for a cooling drink. Had a bit of trouble obtaining my Moscow Mule today.

Showed him the bill to prove it, and then barman and barsteward set too to find it for me. Its on page 2 under E if any of the seniors in the bar department would like to put that right for future reference!

Lunchtime was approaching and Mum has agreed at last to return to Glass House. No point arguing with her about it because I wont convince her otherwise.

Anyway, we made it to Glass House and it was total tranquillity. So cool in there, totally empty and we were the only people along with about 7 bar staff. We had a nice table by the window with big comfy chairs that made me want to curl up and just go to sleep.

I ordered myself a bottle of Blind River, not with the intention of drinking it all, but it means I can take it back to my cabin and drink at my leisure. Mum had catch of the day and I had 3 dishes. Oh my goodness, just the tempura prawns would have been enough for me.

I also had the ham risllette and the salmon fishcakes. Even went beserk at the end and had the morello cherry desert to share! Mum soon squirreled the cherries of the top, so it was left to me to dive down for the cherries at the bottom.

Lunch had left us both stuffed. Straight back to the cabin and mum was soon under the duvet. I retreated to the balcony and before I knew it my eyes were closed and I was fast asleep. I spent the afternoon laying on the bed and on the balcony. Most strenuous thing I did was fetch a glass of cola from Breakers. We had a little browse of the shops this evening, then a formal photo at the top of the atrium, then it was pre drinner drinks time in Blue Bar.

Linda and Chris were not far behind us and then Debbie and the boys arrived. We went down to dinner at 8. I was pretty dam sure that they did, but opted for the safe bet of sauvignon blanc instead. Wine menu never arrived. So I had to call her again. Oh look Pinot Gris, large glass please!! First time I have experienced that, but like I have said before they no longer employ dedicated wine waiters and instead just rotate the bar staff to wait in the restaurants.

I had chosen Maple glazed chicken for my main, but when it came it looked like a grey poached piece of chicken. Not appetising at all. I took one of the French fries, stone cold.

The chicken — even colder. All of the food had been really good up until this point. I checked mums duck and that was ok. Eventually the waiter appeared to check if all was well with everyones meals, but I had to inform him mine was far from ok.

No rush was made to get me a replacement, and my dish went back with the waiter when he went to fetch another tables order. Of course everyone at our table had long finished their meal, so for me the moment of wanting to eat had passed.

Oh dear, just one of those nights I guess. Best part of tonights meal for me was the absolute stunning sunset outside the window. Oh dear, we had a laugh in there tonight. I have no idea what was going on, it really was all a bit random, but it was very funny and me and Mary laughed and laughed! Alan put in an appearance, and Debbie came up to see what a night out in Planet was like, so all in all a good time was had by all.

The drinks were flowing, nothing unusual there. It was a late one and I had to creep into the cabin in the dark. Its not easy to be quiet when you are still giggling. We are just gliding along and hardly breaking the sea this morning. Its like glass, with barely a ripple as we pass through it.

There is some land to the starboard side, but I have no idea what it is. The bridge have just announced a pod of dolphins down the port side, so all is good for a Sunday. Pursers department have just made a very stern warning about the reservation of sunbeds and the Horizon daily paper also had a big piece in it stating that anyone who goes out early, for the purpose of reserving sunbeds, will have their belongings removed.

There will also be regular 15 minute checks throughout the day and belongings removed. I have just walked through decks 16 and 15, and there were pairs of officers all along both decks watching for the reservation of sunbeds.

Its also very clearly stated on the big screen. Breakfast is not going well this morning. Of course it was cold by the time I got it back to the room, so that has not gone down to well. I have had to call room service to come and save the day, but mum is having trouble comprehending why its taking him more than two minutes. Room service breakfast was a total disaster this morning. The tea was a pot of warm coffee. The Danish pastrys were two bread rolls and the toast was cold and crunchy.

It did take a long long time to arrive too. I ended up with a refreshing glass of Pimms by Breakers this morning. Thats a cool way to start a Sunday on a cruise ship lol. I soon spotted two sunloungers becoming available and we settled down on there for a while to soak up the rays. After the disastrous breakfast I fetched mum a nice early lunch of cold meats and salad.

She was ready for her bed after that. I had planned a nice chilled out day on the balcony with my bottle of wine, but the sun decided it was going to spend the morning directly above the ship and then took the lean towards the port side.

I went back on deck for an hour, had some goujons and fries, but the fun in the sun by the pool was a little too much for me today. I needed peace and quiet so eventually retreated to the cabin. I walked through the buffet and the smell of chocolate from the chocoholics buffet was to sickly for me.

It is nowhere near as impressive in the buffet dining venues as it used to be set up in the main restaurants. Gallley walk though too today, but not sure how popular it was. Linda was having a quiet 5 mins down by the Terrace Pool so I joined her for a cocktail and lots of girly chat.

Meanwhile, back at the cabin. Mum was cold and the heat hit me as soon as I walked through the door. Doors shut, heating whacked up to the extreme. Oh dear soon got that sorted and went out on the balcony for some fresh air. Despite the sun lingering over the top of the ship, one corner of our balcony is now basking in sunshine, but its very very hot.

I cant win today. Hopefully the feeling was mutal ; Then I chatted to Blake the Media Manager who has actually been my new best friend this cruise. Blake and Ancy have just been absolute starts with helping me get my head around this trial of MB internet usage, and for me, both of them have gone the extra mile. I was happy to leave. Met up with Linda and Chris down in Blue Bar and Linda was in control of obtaining a bleeper tonight. It is as though you have been anointed with a third eye chakra.

He cupped her face in his dry hands. Wear it as a sign of what has been learned, he said. A sign of your new-found openness to the idea of death. She had distinguished careers in television journalism, city government, and school public relations. I tell her it is either you or me.

The hand that rocks it looks different to mine—how soft our pillows were, and how warm and sanitized by the sun—I am leaving this country for good, the hulk will rock me, even when I am sick— I will hold my stomach close to me like I do with my photo of my child.

These arms are not as buoyant as papyrus stalks. There are things in my mind I could never talk to you about. She flatters my body. This space folds its arms because it is adamant I am not empty enough. The mouths of the sea and the sky are streaming their winds through me like a great god.

She is excited about the process of self-actualization, research in psychoanalysis, philosophy, and cosmogony. Anna, 24, tells hard, neat: Priscilla Atkins is addicted to classrooms and the people in them.

In past lives, she taught in Los Angeles and Honolulu. More recently she teaches and learns in Holland, Michigan. Here they are now on the bed with me. Ankle with Ace bandage, but they itch, they want out.

They have been many places on their own, feeling hot black tarmac and damp sand, soft mud, hard pebbles, that yellowjacket, ow! They whisper to each other. Wasps in the orange tile do not bother me although I hear them. Or I am in Holland walking the mud flats, but without my feet. Home is where your feet are. But your heart, your head, your hands? Their strong bronze toes in hand-stitched sandals. Most recent poetry collection: She also has co-authored textbooks and written a book on Wallace Stevens Wallace Stevens: The Celestial Possible , Twayne, Also, his work has appeared in three anthologies: Everyone says to move forward you need to point yourself toward where you want to go.

But people forget the kernel inside that guides us to turn away from the straight line, to hold a mirror up because to look directly ahead would turn us to stone. Emily Dickinson knew she had to tell the truth slant to tell all of it. This is not about being afraid to die, or living with having been sick. This is about recognizing the brilliance of looking away when a god reveals its true form. It is about wandering a beach while afternoon violets to evening, looking for horseshoe crabs and following the sandpipers.

And also about planting bulbs in concentric circles, so when they bloom, they bloom spectacularly. Jessica Moser was born and raised in New York City. She lives in New York with her family. Jackie Langetieg has published two chapbooks and two collections of poetry, had her work appear in various journals and for the past 25 years has been in all but one of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets yearly calendars.

She is retired and lives with her son and two cats in Verona, WI. His wound was not life threatening but chronic and afflicting it would dog him forever a condition untreatable by medicine or drugs. Home remedies helped, hearing specific songs snapshots from albums thoughts and memories but were as effective as cough syrup for lung cancer. The pain of his loss knew no sorrow it had no faith cared not about his race or age, gender or religion.

His healing showed no urgency was deaf to his prayers like a morphine drip it came gradual taking its own sweet time. He enjoys fishing, kayaking, biking and camping with his kids in the remote regions of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

They meant it as a lesson for not coming when called, sure she was hiding from them in the small woods, and drove away, up the gravelly side road, back onto the highway. She is the winner of the Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize. We who have sullied the ocean return to its beaches clearing the waters for petrel skimming the surface of the open sea. Susan Twiggs writes poetry and picture books. Her degrees are in Social Work and Psychology. At one time or another she has been a psychotherapist for families and children, a conflict resolution consultant, and a yoga teacher and studio owner.

She is grateful for her soul mate of over fifty years, John. Susan has a passion for travel, yoga, and all things natural. She enjoys directing plays drawn from picture books with her grandchildren. A stranger and I walk toward the pink glow. Connecting, knowing glances; camera hope. The indentation — a thumb pressed on the sea. Slow-rising lava hump — arching boundary infusing the waiting gray — pink, purple, blue. Sandpipers advance and retreat.

Fire beyond the water, beyond the thorny Fall, beyond all groans and grasping, calling to a gleam inside of us. She lives in Sharpsburg, GA, with her husband, two almost-grown children, cat, and two dogs.

Pulmonary Fibrosis, and I want to uproot it, transplant it, bury it. I kneel to pray. This is all I have. This is hope that the grave will remain distant — to slow the approach of its onward march. We dine together at Easter. I tell you how as a child I remember prayer meetings held.

We will splash in seaside waters along the cape; we will drink white wine; we will dance in long. Let us rejoice now and live in these tender times,. Diane Sahms-Guarnieri , a native Philadelphian, is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Reds and grays of foreseeable acquiescence. But the human body is resilient and restorative, A metaphor showing shoals and lagoons, The deep sea cave in the ribcage, islets, and The way it heals itself as model or design.

Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. We hear it hit the window, the sound deep like a ball thrown against thick leather, a line drive caught in a mitt.

Surely the bird must be dead. It lies splayed on the snow, its brown wings limp, its beak tilted down. We wait, talk about how long before an injured bird freezes, before a hawk carries it off. We stand still, culprits, in our glass house. But soon the sparrow moves one wing, then the other, tucks both under its belly, tilts its head from side to side as if checking for a break, and finding none flies to the feeder, as if forgiving us.

She lives in Madison, WI. Hands resting in prayer pose, I feel my body dent the spongy surface of the blue yoga mat. I seek to settle the wild lake of my mind. My old border collie struggles to lie down on her therapeutic dog bed.

Her front paws extend out as she executes a perfect downward dog pose. But the stiff old hip joints remain stubbornly raised until finally, gravity pulls her bottom end down to the mat. Getting up requires similar tenacity. It is painful for me to watch Fancy perform her rituals each day as she paces between poses and seeks my warm hand for attention.

Nesting in the thick jungle of periwinkle vines in the large luminescent green clay planter outside my front door, a sparrow sits on four milky eggs snug in a small nest she has knit from dry yard grasses. I peel back the leggy lemon gem marigold to spy on this gift.

Red and yellow pouch flowers and purple daisies help to keep our secret. Early each morning when the front door opens, momma bird flies up to the roof and watches her eggs intently until we pass to go out for a slow walk up the street.

Satisfied by our morning walk, we return home to a waning gibbous moon. My old collie pokes her nose over the threshold and stumbles into the house. She is clueless to the new life that incubates off her shoulder, helpless against her own spirit about to rise. I wonder when these nested eggs will hatch? Will these crossings intersect as night into day? In meditation, I usher that divine pause. She is currently working on a collection of new poems and essays about island life.

The back of my right knee — numb. A coffee table, puppy claws — I feel underneath the epidermis and twitch my leg away. My husband avoided it. My own body made me queasy.

Over a year after surgery, I urged him to palm the patch when his hands caress my legs. This misplaced puzzle piece he covers — the scar and my fears disappear altogether. She is working on a larger poetic project about medicine and the body. Bands of rose ripple across the deep blue water As I lift my arms above the golden sun reflects off the droplets The gentle waves bathe my Spirit soothing her carrying away all the fatigue all the sorrows.

Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. She has also authored a dozen travel guidebooks, and pens travel articles and narratives. Caputo has done over literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia. For the past decade, she has been traveling through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. Follow her travels at: The patriarchy robbed you of your wild self.

Left a self-loathing, judging monster in your place. You pour your compassion into African Violets that shrink if you look at them wrong.

Did you know your girls do too? Whither on the vine? Die for your affection? You never overwatered either— the violets or your girls. Touch me gently like you touch those violets. Speak softly to me like I hear you speak to them. Water me— not too much, not too little. Give me a place of honor in your house too. Let me feel the warmth of sunshine on my face, your loving hand holding me, pruning away what is dying so I can thrive too.

Let me feel the love you pour into those violets. Let me thrive, grow, bloom— the greatest gift. The beautiful blossoming of a well-tended daughter. Called Necessity, it rose like Atlantis out of the ambiguous ocean of the twentieth century, a strand where big medicine met sisterhood and mythology.

Seeing head scarf and lymphedema sleeve, she recognized a sister and held me with the sweetness of shared suffering, heat and light pouring into me, an island under the sun. In , there were more than 2. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment. Sandra Lindow , Menomonie, Wisconsin, recently lost her husband of 34 years to a brief, very aggressive cancer.

She misses his support and inspiration deeply and is working to turn her sadness and loss into various expressions of beauty. Fortunately, she has many islands of loving connections in her life. Mother walking toward the dark water, hair loose down her back, auburn, amber, gray, wading in, deeper, deeper until only her hair fanned and floated on the polished black. The air was hot, her mouth was dry, no water in the house, she dressed and found the pail, the handle cool across her callused palm, the light strengthened as she walked, bird song raining through her, a yellow warble squeezed from brown, a trill of garnet rising to ruby, crow caws, star shards, bursting white, white when flint sparks steel.

At the spring she dipped and filled her pail, her dampened skirt hem, the eddy of milky bubbles, the fog just off the beach, fading, clear. She lugged it down to watch the back-lit breakers lift to cresting curves, hold and hold, over-top, then break, cataracts of emerald slurred with leaf-bud green, frothing into white cumulus, nimbus gray, foam enswirling ankles as she turns and turns, the pail sloshing over, in the draining wake.

He is a retired elementary educator who taught in Oregon and overseas. He is the author of, A Glossary of Memory , an imagined memoir in 26 poems. He has been a programmer and producer at the local community radio station, an actor in community theater productions, and co-host of a monthly poetry open mic. To be allowed to heal. Later, the smell of sacred wood will have woven its way into your clothing, hair, will leave itself in the centre of your pillow.

How it filled you, washed out even your darkest, wounded places. Bring me your sorrow, your sleeplessness. Scatter them among my shadows. Bring me your loss, your loneliness.

Bury them under my dust. Bring me your failures, your mistakes. Leave them in the center of my crescent. Bring me guilt and shame. Place them forever on my dark side.

Bring me the times you felt unseen. Offer them to my great white Eye. Search for it again in moonlight. Bring me wounds and scars. Lay them deep in my craters. Bring me everything you wish to heal. I will give you the elixir of dreams. Her chapbook, Believing the Body , from Gribble Press was published in Clarkson has Masters Degrees in English and Library Science, has taught and worked as a professional librarian.

After caring for her mother through a long illness, she re-careered as a RN specializing in Home Health and Hospice Care. She lives with her husband in Olympia, Washington. We met when I was seventeen, The party was aglitter and I felt like a waif until I discovered him. So we kept company whenever I was out; lazy afternoons, at dinner and even lunch. My constant companion in college I began to take him to my room.

We celebrated birthdays, graduation and a wedding. If I was sad he was my comfort. Angry, I could rail and he would understand. Disappointment faded and I would sleep. Unreliable, I never knew when we would rejoice in some small discovery or treasure and when we would rage. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous small magazines and anthologies. The doctor I tried to forget. In memory of my beloved sister. She was in her late 20s, just like my sister.

Young and competent, for over a month, she tried her best to save my sister, but in the end, the troll won. And so it did. The year-old me, stubbornly upset with God, was upset with his people too.

Though appreciative of all her efforts, I wanted to remove that doctor from my memory. So I tried to forget her and failed. Life is the biggest troll there is.

My mother and her colleague had shared staff rooms and meals for several years. That day on the phone when my mother finally broke this news to me, after several years of willfully ignoring the doctor, I caught myself asking the only thing I could: Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet and activist of Indian origin, currently based in Macao. Her poems have also won or placed well in the IBPC: Jude is a founding member of the Squamish Writers Group and founder and co-editor of The Waters, an online poetry workshop.

I was an exile from my own being bird crashing against glass so to speak I must start from the beginning. Let the sound come rusty and halting, rise from my throat stone tumbled. Let syntax be of birdcall, toward presence, I am here, I am here, I am here. She is an Edna St. Mindful with the River Who can we turn to in our need? Not angels, not humans, and already the knowing animals are aware that we are not really at home in our interpreted world.

There is solace in remembering our world is but interpreted Things are as we see they are. At Center Road the river is a wanderer she sometimes rolls within her banks and sometimes oversteps them In the hospital I am just a body scheduled on the table It slides beneath a tall steel arm that targets rays through startled flesh. I interpret things my way and choose to drift free with the river that flows beneath her silver bridge. Sun gleams gold upon my body Waving reeds caress my breast My cells remember who they are My river knows her mind.

Find more of her work at www. I spotted him chained, staked, skinny and circling, a living tether ball on a lonely highway to nowhere. Now he follows me to my couch, clambers up, a colossal drowsy lapdog with dozy eyes and a lolling tongue lazily lapping my cheek. For him there is only this: He is spared the bother of knowing.

She is retired from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and is now free to spend more of her time reading and writing. My mother added a fold to a square piece of paper for every lock of hair she lost.

Her fingers planted creases among flat flowers, and her wrists formed a temple for a thousand paper stars. She had no need for cranes; she was already suspended in the sky. My mother turned a noose into a fishing line and snagged a sea of steady heartbeats. Paper stars cascaded from her palms and gathered into constellations at her feet. My mother caught the sky, piece by fragile piece, and locked it in her chest.

Kelsey Dean lives in Seoul, where she teaches kindergarten and writes and paints in her spare time. Her work can be found in quite a variety of literary journals and anthologies, and is forthcoming in Liminal , Cicada , and Lilac City Fairy Tales. Beating swords into plowshares — Isaiah, 2: After America dropped the atomic bomb on Japan, the Picuris tribe buried their weapons.

But I did not have a weapon; therefore, I buried the parts of war I had — medical supplies and grief. The hole I dug was never deep enough. I dug barehanded, making a circle, requesting the earth for forgiveness, but it accepted healing.

I thanked the earth. The only obstacle we have in life is unwillingness to face disappointment. We walk in cycles around where transformation waits.

set prayer beads from

Her long bangs caught, swept. She paused to swipe. Flourishing fruit trees, berries, abundant bloom, this shore I call home. Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing, high school English-teaching Alaskan.

When not exploring the summer lands and dark winter of the Yukon Territory, she lives in Sitka, Alaska with her husband and photographer, Bruce Christianson, and daughter Rie. The spot on her forehead was too off-center to be the jewel of a bindi on the brow of an Indian bride.

The spot was rough and red, irregular and raised. It would not heal. Once, at the post office a man startled and pointed. She saw herself in the glass over the portrait of the Postmaster General. There was a bead of blood large like a ruby over her right eye. Amarjeet took a small knife to the spot and sliced off thin layers for the lab. Her skin, under a scope at x magnification, was a fractured net of cells that were splitting, dividing fast.

The thing had a name. It was no longer the spot. It was squamous cell carcinoma in situ. And so that Stage I did not become Stage II there was chemotherapy cream for bedtime and sunblock for the day and hats and long sleeves in the garden.

There will be a small scar, said Dr. It is as though you have been anointed with a third eye chakra. He cupped her face in his dry hands. Wear it as a sign of what has been learned, he said. A sign of your new-found openness to the idea of death. She had distinguished careers in television journalism, city government, and school public relations. I tell her it is either you or me. The hand that rocks it looks different to mine—how soft our pillows were, and how warm and sanitized by the sun—I am leaving this country for good, the hulk will rock me, even when I am sick— I will hold my stomach close to me like I do with my photo of my child.

These arms are not as buoyant as papyrus stalks. There are things in my mind I could never talk to you about. She flatters my body. This space folds its arms because it is adamant I am not empty enough.

The mouths of the sea and the sky are streaming their winds through me like a great god. She is excited about the process of self-actualization, research in psychoanalysis, philosophy, and cosmogony. Anna, 24, tells hard, neat: Priscilla Atkins is addicted to classrooms and the people in them. In past lives, she taught in Los Angeles and Honolulu. More recently she teaches and learns in Holland, Michigan. Here they are now on the bed with me. Ankle with Ace bandage, but they itch, they want out.

They have been many places on their own, feeling hot black tarmac and damp sand, soft mud, hard pebbles, that yellowjacket, ow! They whisper to each other. Wasps in the orange tile do not bother me although I hear them. Or I am in Holland walking the mud flats, but without my feet. Home is where your feet are. But your heart, your head, your hands?

Their strong bronze toes in hand-stitched sandals. Most recent poetry collection: She also has co-authored textbooks and written a book on Wallace Stevens Wallace Stevens: The Celestial Possible , Twayne, Also, his work has appeared in three anthologies: Everyone says to move forward you need to point yourself toward where you want to go.

But people forget the kernel inside that guides us to turn away from the straight line, to hold a mirror up because to look directly ahead would turn us to stone. Emily Dickinson knew she had to tell the truth slant to tell all of it. This is not about being afraid to die, or living with having been sick. This is about recognizing the brilliance of looking away when a god reveals its true form. It is about wandering a beach while afternoon violets to evening, looking for horseshoe crabs and following the sandpipers.

And also about planting bulbs in concentric circles, so when they bloom, they bloom spectacularly. Jessica Moser was born and raised in New York City. She lives in New York with her family. Jackie Langetieg has published two chapbooks and two collections of poetry, had her work appear in various journals and for the past 25 years has been in all but one of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets yearly calendars.

She is retired and lives with her son and two cats in Verona, WI. His wound was not life threatening but chronic and afflicting it would dog him forever a condition untreatable by medicine or drugs.

Home remedies helped, hearing specific songs snapshots from albums thoughts and memories but were as effective as cough syrup for lung cancer. The pain of his loss knew no sorrow it had no faith cared not about his race or age, gender or religion.

His healing showed no urgency was deaf to his prayers like a morphine drip it came gradual taking its own sweet time. He enjoys fishing, kayaking, biking and camping with his kids in the remote regions of Wisconsin and Minnesota. They meant it as a lesson for not coming when called, sure she was hiding from them in the small woods, and drove away, up the gravelly side road, back onto the highway.

She is the winner of the Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize. We who have sullied the ocean return to its beaches clearing the waters for petrel skimming the surface of the open sea. Susan Twiggs writes poetry and picture books. Her degrees are in Social Work and Psychology. At one time or another she has been a psychotherapist for families and children, a conflict resolution consultant, and a yoga teacher and studio owner.

She is grateful for her soul mate of over fifty years, John. Susan has a passion for travel, yoga, and all things natural. She enjoys directing plays drawn from picture books with her grandchildren. A stranger and I walk toward the pink glow. Connecting, knowing glances; camera hope. The indentation — a thumb pressed on the sea. Slow-rising lava hump — arching boundary infusing the waiting gray — pink, purple, blue. Sandpipers advance and retreat. Fire beyond the water, beyond the thorny Fall, beyond all groans and grasping, calling to a gleam inside of us.

She lives in Sharpsburg, GA, with her husband, two almost-grown children, cat, and two dogs. Pulmonary Fibrosis, and I want to uproot it, transplant it, bury it. I kneel to pray. This is all I have. This is hope that the grave will remain distant — to slow the approach of its onward march. We dine together at Easter. I tell you how as a child I remember prayer meetings held.

We will splash in seaside waters along the cape; we will drink white wine; we will dance in long. Let us rejoice now and live in these tender times,.

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri , a native Philadelphian, is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Reds and grays of foreseeable acquiescence. But the human body is resilient and restorative, A metaphor showing shoals and lagoons, The deep sea cave in the ribcage, islets, and The way it heals itself as model or design. Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines.

He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. We hear it hit the window, the sound deep like a ball thrown against thick leather, a line drive caught in a mitt.

Surely the bird must be dead. It lies splayed on the snow, its brown wings limp, its beak tilted down. We wait, talk about how long before an injured bird freezes, before a hawk carries it off. We stand still, culprits, in our glass house. But soon the sparrow moves one wing, then the other, tucks both under its belly, tilts its head from side to side as if checking for a break, and finding none flies to the feeder, as if forgiving us.

She lives in Madison, WI. Hands resting in prayer pose, I feel my body dent the spongy surface of the blue yoga mat. I seek to settle the wild lake of my mind. My old border collie struggles to lie down on her therapeutic dog bed. Her front paws extend out as she executes a perfect downward dog pose. But the stiff old hip joints remain stubbornly raised until finally, gravity pulls her bottom end down to the mat. Getting up requires similar tenacity.

It is painful for me to watch Fancy perform her rituals each day as she paces between poses and seeks my warm hand for attention. Nesting in the thick jungle of periwinkle vines in the large luminescent green clay planter outside my front door, a sparrow sits on four milky eggs snug in a small nest she has knit from dry yard grasses.

I peel back the leggy lemon gem marigold to spy on this gift. Red and yellow pouch flowers and purple daisies help to keep our secret. Early each morning when the front door opens, momma bird flies up to the roof and watches her eggs intently until we pass to go out for a slow walk up the street.

Satisfied by our morning walk, we return home to a waning gibbous moon. My old collie pokes her nose over the threshold and stumbles into the house. She is clueless to the new life that incubates off her shoulder, helpless against her own spirit about to rise.

I wonder when these nested eggs will hatch? Will these crossings intersect as night into day? In meditation, I usher that divine pause. She is currently working on a collection of new poems and essays about island life. The back of my right knee — numb. A coffee table, puppy claws — I feel underneath the epidermis and twitch my leg away. My husband avoided it. My own body made me queasy.

Over a year after surgery, I urged him to palm the patch when his hands caress my legs. This misplaced puzzle piece he covers — the scar and my fears disappear altogether. She is working on a larger poetic project about medicine and the body. Bands of rose ripple across the deep blue water As I lift my arms above the golden sun reflects off the droplets The gentle waves bathe my Spirit soothing her carrying away all the fatigue all the sorrows.

Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. She has also authored a dozen travel guidebooks, and pens travel articles and narratives.

Caputo has done over literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia. For the past decade, she has been traveling through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. Follow her travels at: The patriarchy robbed you of your wild self. Left a self-loathing, judging monster in your place.

You pour your compassion into African Violets that shrink if you look at them wrong. Did you know your girls do too? Whither on the vine?

Die for your affection? You never overwatered either— the violets or your girls. Touch me gently like you touch those violets. Speak softly to me like I hear you speak to them. Water me— not too much, not too little. Give me a place of honor in your house too. Let me feel the warmth of sunshine on my face, your loving hand holding me, pruning away what is dying so I can thrive too. Let me feel the love you pour into those violets. Let me thrive, grow, bloom— the greatest gift.

The beautiful blossoming of a well-tended daughter. Called Necessity, it rose like Atlantis out of the ambiguous ocean of the twentieth century, a strand where big medicine met sisterhood and mythology. Seeing head scarf and lymphedema sleeve, she recognized a sister and held me with the sweetness of shared suffering, heat and light pouring into me, an island under the sun.

In , there were more than 2. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment. Sandra Lindow , Menomonie, Wisconsin, recently lost her husband of 34 years to a brief, very aggressive cancer. She misses his support and inspiration deeply and is working to turn her sadness and loss into various expressions of beauty. Fortunately, she has many islands of loving connections in her life.

Mother walking toward the dark water, hair loose down her back, auburn, amber, gray, wading in, deeper, deeper until only her hair fanned and floated on the polished black. The air was hot, her mouth was dry, no water in the house, she dressed and found the pail, the handle cool across her callused palm, the light strengthened as she walked, bird song raining through her, a yellow warble squeezed from brown, a trill of garnet rising to ruby, crow caws, star shards, bursting white, white when flint sparks steel.

At the spring she dipped and filled her pail, her dampened skirt hem, the eddy of milky bubbles, the fog just off the beach, fading, clear.

She lugged it down to watch the back-lit breakers lift to cresting curves, hold and hold, over-top, then break, cataracts of emerald slurred with leaf-bud green, frothing into white cumulus, nimbus gray, foam enswirling ankles as she turns and turns, the pail sloshing over, in the draining wake.

He is a retired elementary educator who taught in Oregon and overseas. He is the author of, A Glossary of Memory , an imagined memoir in 26 poems. He has been a programmer and producer at the local community radio station, an actor in community theater productions, and co-host of a monthly poetry open mic.

To be allowed to heal. Later, the smell of sacred wood will have woven its way into your clothing, hair, will leave itself in the centre of your pillow. How it filled you, washed out even your darkest, wounded places. Bring me your sorrow, your sleeplessness. Scatter them among my shadows. Bring me your loss, your loneliness.

Bury them under my dust. Bring me your failures, your mistakes. Leave them in the center of my crescent. Bring me guilt and shame.

Place them forever on my dark side. Bring me the times you felt unseen. Offer them to my great white Eye. Search for it again in moonlight. Bring me wounds and scars. Lay them deep in my craters. Bring me everything you wish to heal. I will give you the elixir of dreams. Her chapbook, Believing the Body , from Gribble Press was published in Clarkson has Masters Degrees in English and Library Science, has taught and worked as a professional librarian. After caring for her mother through a long illness, she re-careered as a RN specializing in Home Health and Hospice Care.

She lives with her husband in Olympia, Washington. We met when I was seventeen, The party was aglitter and I felt like a waif until I discovered him. So we kept company whenever I was out; lazy afternoons, at dinner and even lunch.

My constant companion in college I began to take him to my room. We celebrated birthdays, graduation and a wedding. If I was sad he was my comfort. Angry, I could rail and he would understand.

Disappointment faded and I would sleep. Unreliable, I never knew when we would rejoice in some small discovery or treasure and when we would rage. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous small magazines and anthologies. The doctor I tried to forget. In memory of my beloved sister. She was in her late 20s, just like my sister. Young and competent, for over a month, she tried her best to save my sister, but in the end, the troll won.

And so it did. The year-old me, stubbornly upset with God, was upset with his people too. Though appreciative of all her efforts, I wanted to remove that doctor from my memory. So I tried to forget her and failed. Life is the biggest troll there is. My mother and her colleague had shared staff rooms and meals for several years. That day on the phone when my mother finally broke this news to me, after several years of willfully ignoring the doctor, I caught myself asking the only thing I could: Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet and activist of Indian origin, currently based in Macao.

Her poems have also won or placed well in the IBPC: Jude is a founding member of the Squamish Writers Group and founder and co-editor of The Waters, an online poetry workshop. I was an exile from my own being bird crashing against glass so to speak I must start from the beginning. Let the sound come rusty and halting, rise from my throat stone tumbled. Let syntax be of birdcall, toward presence, I am here, I am here, I am here. She is an Edna St. Mindful with the River Who can we turn to in our need?

Not angels, not humans, and already the knowing animals are aware that we are not really at home in our interpreted world. There is solace in remembering our world is but interpreted Things are as we see they are. At Center Road the river is a wanderer she sometimes rolls within her banks and sometimes oversteps them In the hospital I am just a body scheduled on the table It slides beneath a tall steel arm that targets rays through startled flesh. I interpret things my way and choose to drift free with the river that flows beneath her silver bridge.

Sun gleams gold upon my body Waving reeds caress my breast My cells remember who they are My river knows her mind. Find more of her work at www. I spotted him chained, staked, skinny and circling, a living tether ball on a lonely highway to nowhere. Now he follows me to my couch, clambers up, a colossal drowsy lapdog with dozy eyes and a lolling tongue lazily lapping my cheek.

For him there is only this: That was enough excitement for one day. Back down to the shuttle buses and straight onto the wheelchair adapted one and straight back to the ship.

Upto Breakers Bar for a long cold drink. It was getting on for 2. Even the pool below was empty. Thats just how I like my ships! Cocktail of the day was a Hurricane so it went down very nicely. No queuing at Frankies Grill today either and mum had her usual fish goujons and I opted for the chicken and bacon baguette, washed down by a second Hurricane.

We really were melting so it was retreat to the cabin. I could see we were about to loose the sun on our side and sure enough, by the time I had changed and cooled down, the sun had popped over the top of the ship and cast a shadow on our balcony. Mum had a snooze so I escaped to the Terrace Bar right at the back of the ship and baked for 10 minutes while I sipped on another Hurricane.

Time for a snooze after my busy day, lol. Casual night tonight and oh boy do some take that literally! I managed to slip in my glass of Canadian fizz en route to dinner. Dinner was very quiet tonight due to the Indian Buffet upstairs. We had a nice table again and lovely meal. I had a lovely meal of Salmon followed by strawberry shortbread.

Zoe Tyler was on in the theatre and people kept telling me how good her first show was, so I wanted to see her. Her show was packed with standing room only. I stood at the back but it was so warm I had to leave after about three songs, but yes, she was indeed excellent and well worth going to see if you get the chance. Malabar was also packed out with a comedian, and there was a lot of laughing going on so can only presume he was good too.

Planet Bar for me, and John and Mary were already there. I told them all about my experiences from the night before. Sid made us some excellent cocktails again including a Raspberry Creme brule which was like a meal in a glass, and a lovely margarita with salt rim. Time for bed and I was escorted by John and Mary to keep me out of trouble. We went via deck 7 and was going to walk along the outside. Oh my goodness how many teens were out there smoking.

The deck was rammed and we struggled to get by. I would also guess that some of them had been drinking too so maybe supplies were obtained ashore?! Oh dear, grey skys and a bit of drizzle but its early.

I couldnt be bothered to make the effort to get breakfast in the restaurant so I braved a walk upto self service and acquired some toast and a couple of pastries. The complimentary shuttle service is greatly appreciated though.

There was already a queue for the wheelchair adapted one, so we opted for the non adapted coach and two gentlemen very kindly moved from the front seat to allow mum to be seated without too much hassle. It is a long boring drive into Toulon, hampered by stop start traffic.

Mum has a unique way of marking her ports of call for enjoyment, and for Mum Toulon scored 11 out of Which loosly translates to she got plenty of bargains on the market.

It is a nice little market and a pleasant enough shopping street. Back through the harbour and we joined the queue for the bus back to Azura. We were quite lucky and we were only one shuttle bus length back, but the queue soon formed because all the shuttle bus drivers appeared to be in lunch, and loads of buses were parked up on the side of the car park.

We managed to get on the second bus back, but by then the queue was way back across the car park and back to the gates. A lot of fed up looking passengers. The drive back was a little quicker than getting there at around 25 mins, but just as we stepped off the bus the heavens opened and we got drowned running to the front of the ship for the wheelchair access gangway. We had a lovely lovely evening, and a nice meal with lots of chatter. It sounds simple enough to understand, but the mixture of bold and normal print in the daily newssheet leans more towards the casual, and I feel thats what a lot of people dressed as last time.

So tonight passengers have been warned that gents must wear a jacket if dining in Peninsular, oriental or Meridian, and drinking in Blue bar, Planet and somewhere else which I cant recall.

There were certainly plenty dressed the same throughout the ship later too. A lot of people were heading for Rome tomorrow so many had taken to their beds early. They had been to XVII for a meal this evening and said it was superb. I will get to try that place one day. Alann decided to grace us with his presence this evening so he some catching up to do with all the recent events of dodgy men at the bar etc lol.

Its a hot one today! I had looked out and had wrongly presumed we were berthed a little closer to the port gate this time, so after breakfast in the Peninsular restaurant we went ashore nice and early. Well, it might not be far to walk on a normal day, but in the searing heat, complete with a delicate little hangover, and the sun blasting onto me, it felt like a trek across the desert. When I eventually reached the port gates I recalled that the precinct was on a slight incline and I had to push the wheelchair up it.

Oh boy this market had better be open when I got there. Thankfully it was, and it was in the shade, which was bliss and greatly appreciated. A bottle of ice cold water would have been appreciated more but Mum was on a mission.

Bags and shiney things to be looked at. She managed 3 handbags and a necklace today. Not paying more than 12 euros for any of them.

I got a lovely white sparkly kaftan swimwear coverup for 5 euros and a much needed fushia pink handbag, for 10 euros. So we were able to leave happy after a successful shopping mission. I was hoping to get the bus back to the ship, but once we were through the port gate the pavement was very uneven and difficult to negotiate with a wheelchair. There were people getting off buses and people clambering to get on buses, with 5 ships it was too chaotic and I gave up within about 30 seconds.

Yes, I walked all the way back again. I really am crackers. Mum opted for her bed, I opted for a very quick change, my sunlounger up by breakers and a cocktail.

A Missionarys Downfall to be precise and very nice it was too! Im really surprised at how many people have stayed onboard today. Civitavecchia usually means an empty ship but not today. I keep the suntan lotion and cocktail levels nicely topped up, and also keep checking on mum.

I bought her back on deck for some lunch but it was too hot for her so I pushed her into the shade for a while. Then I started to melt, so had to do something about it and went and sat in the shade for a while.

As I wandered over to the railings for a nosey I felt a lovely breeze. Oh it was bliss, so I parked mum against the railings and she was happy watching the passengers arrive back on the buses and supervising the workmen who have been extending the harbour defence for over 12 months now. I laid on my lounger and let the breeze glide over me, oh it was heaven.

I kept nodding off, goodness whats wrong with me, anyone would think I trekked into town this morning. Mum needed her bed again, so I took her back down and then came back to my sunlounger. I put the light out and I was gone in nanao seconds. Trouble was a woke up dribbling which is never good. Disaster when I got to the cabin and could see that I had caught the sun all the way down one side of my face and not the other.

Have to sort that out tomorrow. Casual night tonight and a suitable maxi dress was sorted for me, but mum was not so easy to please with her choice of wear this evening. A much welcomed, nice relaxing pre dinner drink or two in Glass House. This has become one of my favourite spots for pre dinner drinks. Lots of people watching opportunities as they come and go to the various locations, so plenty of dress code watching opportunities and there were some interesting ones this evening.

Went for dinner in the Meridian at about 10 past 8, after stopping for a photo in the Atrium. Not so sure it will be to my liking in casual attire but thought I would give it a go.

Very pleasant table for 8 this evening, and a lovely meal again. Dover sole was very nice, treacle tart was very fattening. A little browse of the shops but it was toy sale night so nothing much to see. We walked through Brodies and it was busy as usual. This was our usual hang out last time we were on Azura but it just seems too busy this time around for me to even consider. After mum was in bed I went for my usual little wander. I was at Planet Bar before Mary and John this evening. I asked Sid for something long cold and fruity and he obliged with a Raspberry Mojhito.

Everyone is tired this evening, the heat of Civitavecchia has zapped us all, plus lots of people had spent the day in Rome, so the ship in general was quiet. I had my earliest night ever of the cruise and headed for my bed before 1. We have berthed port side too again today so no quay side for us to observe, but I do think we might get the sun this afternoon. We have been port side too in every port apart from Barcelona so far.

MSC Sinfonia has just come in and berthed behind us. We have a clear view across the bay and I expect the sun to be on our side later this afternoon. After a bit of breakfast out on the aft Terrace we ventured ashore. At last they have dragged the Naples terminal building into the 21st century, although I did quite like the charm of the old fashioned little shop units within the original terminal. Its now more of a designer oultlet.

Some very nice shoe and fashion stores and nice jewellery etc. We were back onboard within half an hour and sat at Breakers bar enjoying a large rum punch. It is very very hot again, but there is an occasional gentle breeze just wafting across the deck. It is a struggle to sit it out though and we manage it until noon when we go down a deck for a spot of lunch in the shade.

But then Headliners started to rehearse for tonights deck party. Blimeys, I know it was a sound check, but I hope it sounds better on the night!! Had to get away from that din. Back down to the cabin and result — the balcony is in full blown sunshine.

Mum has her bed to curl up in, I have the balcony to sunbathe on and I can nip in and out to check my emails from my laptop. Decided this afternoon would be a good time to do some laundry. No, I got that wrong! It was extremely busy in there! I stood around and waited for a washer, and I did get lucky with a tumble dryer becoming free when I needed one.

Some people looked like they were doing a weeks wash for a family of four in there. I just did the essentials and got out. Most strenuous thing I did was walk a few yards to the laundrette. Tropical Party tonight, so tropical gear was donned, well for me a long bright dress. We are dining together so I am despatched to obtain the bleeper.

This is where Freedom dining falls down for me. We are enjoying some pre dinner drinks and we know that we want to dine as a party of 7. Not quite ready now, so try and pre empt the situation by trying to get a bleeper for a table becoming ready between say 8.

But no, restaurant manager informs me it cant be done. We can go in now — but we are all enjoying a drink, or we can come down when we are ready and take pot luck.

Isnt that a bit antiquated? We did go down at about 10 past 8, so as to avoid the 8. Trouble was it was right under an airvent and it was very chilly. It was like the north wind blowing down on mum and I had to go back to the cabin and get her a woolly cardigan.

We had a lovely meal again and lots of fun. I decided to retreat to Planet Bar and enjoyed a quiet couple of drinks sat at the bar. The ship had got that little bit of a bobble on and the gentle rocking was making me sleepy. For me it was an early night, but it was good to snuggle under my duvet. It was even early enough for me to comprehend and order some room service breakfast. My eyes opened at about 5. Next thing I knew room service was knocking on the door at 8.

Yay, toast was still warm so race was on to get it buttered for mum before it went cold. I enjoyed my cornflakes and juice out on the balcony as we made our approach to Ajaccio. It was a stunning sail in. We had a helicopter along side, presumably taking photos for a brochure or a video perhaps. Im sure we have always been at tender here, but looks like they have built a new berth because we docked. Starboard side to, too. The church bells were ringing, we are overlooking the harbour and it is just stunning.

And I can see the market is open today so Mum will be happy. Napoleon and his men came down to the quayside to great us. They did a little parade and a changing of the guard. Only trouble was they decided to put two of Napoleons guards on the main gangway, and do a changing of the guard every few minutes. They looked very impressive but were causing a bit of chaos by the main gangway with everyone wanting photos with them as they came down the gangway.

They drummed on their drums and marched about for a bit before retreating back through the port gates. It was packed, the alleys were too tight and it was all on raised pavements with kerbs to negotiate all the time. Not easy with a wheelchair.

I walked all the way back across the square and tried to cut down to the beach along a side street but the pavements were just ridiculous. Very uneven, and the stupid French had parked their mopeds on the pavements! So instead I walked along the road and held up all the traffic. Lots of inviting little cafes and bars in the harbour, but no Mr C to share the experience with so straight back to the ship.

Poor lad was horrified! So I felt obliged to retreat to Breakers Bar for a cooling drink. Had a bit of trouble obtaining my Moscow Mule today. Showed him the bill to prove it, and then barman and barsteward set too to find it for me. Its on page 2 under E if any of the seniors in the bar department would like to put that right for future reference!

Lunchtime was approaching and Mum has agreed at last to return to Glass House. No point arguing with her about it because I wont convince her otherwise. Anyway, we made it to Glass House and it was total tranquillity. So cool in there, totally empty and we were the only people along with about 7 bar staff. We had a nice table by the window with big comfy chairs that made me want to curl up and just go to sleep.

I ordered myself a bottle of Blind River, not with the intention of drinking it all, but it means I can take it back to my cabin and drink at my leisure. Mum had catch of the day and I had 3 dishes. Oh my goodness, just the tempura prawns would have been enough for me. I also had the ham risllette and the salmon fishcakes. Even went beserk at the end and had the morello cherry desert to share!

Mum soon squirreled the cherries of the top, so it was left to me to dive down for the cherries at the bottom. Lunch had left us both stuffed. Straight back to the cabin and mum was soon under the duvet.

I retreated to the balcony and before I knew it my eyes were closed and I was fast asleep. I spent the afternoon laying on the bed and on the balcony.

Most strenuous thing I did was fetch a glass of cola from Breakers. We had a little browse of the shops this evening, then a formal photo at the top of the atrium, then it was pre drinner drinks time in Blue Bar. Linda and Chris were not far behind us and then Debbie and the boys arrived. We went down to dinner at 8. I was pretty dam sure that they did, but opted for the safe bet of sauvignon blanc instead.

Wine menu never arrived. So I had to call her again. Oh look Pinot Gris, large glass please!! First time I have experienced that, but like I have said before they no longer employ dedicated wine waiters and instead just rotate the bar staff to wait in the restaurants. I had chosen Maple glazed chicken for my main, but when it came it looked like a grey poached piece of chicken. Not appetising at all. I took one of the French fries, stone cold. The chicken — even colder. All of the food had been really good up until this point.

I checked mums duck and that was ok. Eventually the waiter appeared to check if all was well with everyones meals, but I had to inform him mine was far from ok. No rush was made to get me a replacement, and my dish went back with the waiter when he went to fetch another tables order.

Of course everyone at our table had long finished their meal, so for me the moment of wanting to eat had passed. Oh dear, just one of those nights I guess. Best part of tonights meal for me was the absolute stunning sunset outside the window. Oh dear, we had a laugh in there tonight.

I have no idea what was going on, it really was all a bit random, but it was very funny and me and Mary laughed and laughed! Alan put in an appearance, and Debbie came up to see what a night out in Planet was like, so all in all a good time was had by all. The drinks were flowing, nothing unusual there. It was a late one and I had to creep into the cabin in the dark. Its not easy to be quiet when you are still giggling. We are just gliding along and hardly breaking the sea this morning.

Its like glass, with barely a ripple as we pass through it. There is some land to the starboard side, but I have no idea what it is. The bridge have just announced a pod of dolphins down the port side, so all is good for a Sunday. Pursers department have just made a very stern warning about the reservation of sunbeds and the Horizon daily paper also had a big piece in it stating that anyone who goes out early, for the purpose of reserving sunbeds, will have their belongings removed.

There will also be regular 15 minute checks throughout the day and belongings removed. I have just walked through decks 16 and 15, and there were pairs of officers all along both decks watching for the reservation of sunbeds. Its also very clearly stated on the big screen. Breakfast is not going well this morning. Of course it was cold by the time I got it back to the room, so that has not gone down to well. I have had to call room service to come and save the day, but mum is having trouble comprehending why its taking him more than two minutes.

Room service breakfast was a total disaster this morning. The tea was a pot of warm coffee. The Danish pastrys were two bread rolls and the toast was cold and crunchy. It did take a long long time to arrive too. I ended up with a refreshing glass of Pimms by Breakers this morning. Thats a cool way to start a Sunday on a cruise ship lol. I soon spotted two sunloungers becoming available and we settled down on there for a while to soak up the rays. After the disastrous breakfast I fetched mum a nice early lunch of cold meats and salad.

She was ready for her bed after that. I had planned a nice chilled out day on the balcony with my bottle of wine, but the sun decided it was going to spend the morning directly above the ship and then took the lean towards the port side. I went back on deck for an hour, had some goujons and fries, but the fun in the sun by the pool was a little too much for me today.

I needed peace and quiet so eventually retreated to the cabin. I walked through the buffet and the smell of chocolate from the chocoholics buffet was to sickly for me. It is nowhere near as impressive in the buffet dining venues as it used to be set up in the main restaurants. Gallley walk though too today, but not sure how popular it was.

Linda was having a quiet 5 mins down by the Terrace Pool so I joined her for a cocktail and lots of girly chat. Meanwhile, back at the cabin. Mum was cold and the heat hit me as soon as I walked through the door. Doors shut, heating whacked up to the extreme. Oh dear soon got that sorted and went out on the balcony for some fresh air.

Despite the sun lingering over the top of the ship, one corner of our balcony is now basking in sunshine, but its very very hot. I cant win today. Hopefully the feeling was mutal ; Then I chatted to Blake the Media Manager who has actually been my new best friend this cruise. Blake and Ancy have just been absolute starts with helping me get my head around this trial of MB internet usage, and for me, both of them have gone the extra mile.

I was happy to leave. Met up with Linda and Chris down in Blue Bar and Linda was in control of obtaining a bleeper tonight. I had the exact same problem this evening with ordering a glass of wine that I did last night. Different wine waiter, because different section. At least he was willing to look for it! Lovely tomato soup this evening. On the way out the restaurant the restaurant manager stopped me to apologise about last nights meal and the way it was handled. I knew that it was unusual for the way it was handled at the time, so I was happy to learn that it had been noted and dealt with.

Mum went off to bed and I had a couple of emails to send that flatly refused to send earlier. Always a bit paranoid about messing with my internet after a few drinkies, but I double treble checked I had logged off and headed for Planet Bar. Oh we had a fab evening this evening.

We laughed all night long. Neil and Matt came up for a drink, because Neil had heard about our legendary nights at the bar. For once we entertained the entertainment team. Apparently poor Matt had a bit of a blonde moment earlier and really thought we were going to Vigo. Poor Matt he took some stick for that. And treble the amount of laughing that we usually do.

I even did a bit of dancing to Lady GaGa of all things! The night ended when we were the only ones left and the bar staff retreated to the corner for a lie down with their paperwork.

We had kept them busy this evening. I wonder what we look like from the other side of the bar, lol. I always insist on taking the scenic route to bed, via deck 7. I was escorted by Alan. Bumped into Christian and some teens outside Manhattan who were very surprised to see us.

Must have wondered what oldies were doing up at this time, lol. By the time I reached the cabin I realised I had a bit of Cinderella moment and had lost the tip off my heel of my shoe. Thankfully I spotted it further down the corridor. Im no sooner through the door and Mum wants to inform me that a its late, and b the clocks have gone forward! Easy for me to say, but you try explaining that one to a confused 89 year old who is having non of it!

She also insisted on lecturing me about the lateness of the hour and wanting to know who, what, where and why I had been out until this hour!

I had no comprehension of what time it was by now. I found taking the key card out of the energy slot by the door, and plunging the cabin into darkenss, put and end to mums whitterings and lectures because she had no idea where I was! Not so sure I did either!! No, I really am. Up, washed, dressed and into Breakfast in Peninsular before 8.

Gibraltar big cloud of mist and drizzle is hovering over the rock of Gibraltar and the rest of the weather looks non too promising. I walked into town and back pushing the wheelchair. There are one or two new supermarkets opened up in the new units on the way into town. Every year when we come here there is a little bit more to the development of the walk into town. We dodged a couple of showers this morning, but the by the time I got back to the balcony there was just a glint of sunshine.

I fetched a wrap and a burger from Frankies Grill and enjoyed my lunch in the sun on the balcony with a glass of wine. Sailaway was at 1. So we sat and had a singsong together while Neil and the team exerted all their energy on the stage. I know I will get the blame for leading her astray later on. I had to go in search of some glue to fix my shoe from last night.

The Emporium obliged with that. Bumped into Debbie and we went for a coffee and a Natter in Java. No escaping it, my bed is calling me. So I had a meeting with my duvet.

The sea had a bit of a bobble on this evening and getting ready was a bit of a struggle. Had a bit of a wander looking at photos and then managed to get a seat in Blue bar for pre dinner drinks. That bar is getting busier and busier. Lovely dinner in Meridian this evening.

I had the Tandorri chicken, which was perhaps a little spicy for me, but very nice non the less. Negotiated a really nice Bin End this evening. I actually got one of the more experienced wine waiters for a change. My usual spot in Planet Bar and it was buzzing up there again. Mohito man, Agi, was mixing me some very acceptable flavours of mojhito this evening. One of the bartenders went the extra mile and went to another bar to get me a glass of Peller Canadian Fizz. I also enjoyed a little Samba thats a dance not a drink , not easy in high heels!

I had to take the blame for leading Mary astray too earlier at the deck party. Im always in the frame for something! Alan put in a bit of a guest appearance too. I have no idea what time it was when I left but I know that I was the last out of there.

Battle of the clocks resumed when I got back to the cabin again. You might not believe this but mum woke me at some unearthly hour to ask if the clocks were back, forward or on their head! Fed up of time now!!! I caved in eventually and obliged with a half cup of tea. Anyone would think it was mum that had been out sampling the delights of the bars until the early hours.

Made it to breakfast in Peninsular and I opted for a cooked breakfast for once. I find it quieter than the crunch of the cereals. Lisbon is very over cast and we disembarked and were straight onto one of the wheelchair friendly buses. Meant I had to stand a wheelchair watch though. It drizzled as strolled around Lisbon, nothing too drastic but some sunshine would have been appreciated.

Mum added to her hoard of treasure she has purchased this cruise and added a ring and bracelet to the cache of 4 handbags, 2 rings, pair of shoes and a necklace! I was happy with my box of 6 warm custard tarts. The sun is coming out just as we arrive on the dockside. Quick change and upto Breakers bar for me. Mum needs a lie down, again!

Collected mum at lunch time and we had a nice lemon chicken baguette in the sun. Sat for a while longer but it was getting too hot for mum, so we retreated to the balcony. I went for a wander around Prom and up to the bow on deck 8, before retreating to the balcony and catching a few more rays, because I have no idea how many are left?! Obviously I have attended a few in my time but this one seemed to have the entire ship in attendance. It was buzzing, the sun was beating down and Neil and his team were full of energy.

Oh please Neil can I have a little bit of it. It was possibly one of the longest sailaway partys too. First we had to wait for a latecomer back to the ship always one! Anyone on that bridge must have thought we were totally bonkers, waiving our flags and cheering loudly. Hope it made them smile. The party just kept going, Pimms seemed to be coming at me from all directions and it was taking some keeping up with.

Neil and his team finished with a walk through of the decks, lots of kisses and hand shakes and then back on stage for Azura theme tune and the elbow dance. Hats off to Neil and his team they are the very best at sea! Meanwhile, back at the cabin I have 50 minutes to do a turnaround and get showered , dressed and out. Pre dinner drinks in Planet this evening for a change, and I was going to be so good and have a cola, but somehow I heard myself asking for a Margeritta with salt rim!

We were eating in Trattoria this evening so at 7. Maximum is a 6, and we cant even have that one and squash because someone is already earmarked for it. Im told the best they can do is a table for 4, plus a table for 3, but wont guarantee they will be together or at the same time.

I was given a laminated piece of paper with a number on it and told to come back at 8. Im not impressed, a very hit and miss service. Is it me but would a bleeper system, like Meridian not be about 50 times more efficient? All way to hit and miss and he could tell I was not best pleased. We were invited to sit in the Cafe next door and wait.

Not very pleasant as it was being cleaned at the time. Eventually we were seated, on a squashed table for 5, plus a table for 2! But it could have been a one off and I need to try again at some point. After mum had gone to bed I headed for my usual spot in Planet. But who are all these strangers?

I just wing everything and hope for the best. It works for me. One of them was a bit shocked when I asked for a glass of cola at one point, I think he had to go for a lie down after that.

We were relatively early leaving, well early for us of late anyway. I went via deck 7 to check on the boys and girls and to see what they were upto. There has been a bit of trouble at mill, but I have to say that all of the teens that I have experienced have been a polite and very pleasant young adults. I managed to get into bed, in complete darkness and mum never stirred, not even for half a cup of tea, or to ask what time the clocks went back forward etc.

Last night I was asked what my perfect day would be. I responded with, sun on the balcony all morning so I could chill without any effort and then an afternoon in bed, followed my an evening of partying. Out of bed and into breakfast before 9 this morning — how do I do that?

Cabin steward advised me enroute to keep my shades on. Apparently red slits for eyes is not a good look for a lady. Thought it rude to eat in my shades so they were removed and I hope nobody noticed. Bun fight, summer sale, in Meridian this morning. Not my idea of fun at all, but a certain octogenarian likes a bargain so I had to oblige.

Bumped into Linda and Chris on the way out, and linda just laughed at me, so I threw the shades back on. Chris had to take a double look. The sun was beating on the balcony. I considered a glass of cold wine, but opted instead for a custard tart and half a cup of tea! I had some form filling to do, some cruise nominations to complete, errands to run etc.

By the time I had done all that, the cloud cover had come and the sun was gone. Decided I would partake in a little bit of packing, just incase the sun puts in a full days appearance tomorrow. Mum spotted the FitFlops on the way out of lunch and really fancies a pair. I had a woman in fits of laugher when I pointed out to mum that a pair of Fit Flops were a bit pointless to her.

Christian was causing chaos at the jewellery stall, making his purchase. Im not so sure that the contribution from his two new aunties was helping. Back to the cabin and one glance at the duvet and I was in. Pre dinner drinks in the Planet Bar again this evening and tonight we were joined by Simon and his boys, who were due to dine with Debbie, Kieran and Christian but may not have realised at the time that we came as a package lol.

I was worried that a table of 10 would be difficult to obtain on the last formal nite, so poor Kieran got the job of runner for a pager. He soon returned to inform us that a table was ready and we could go now. Bit of confusion with drinks still arriving, and it would have been nice to just sit and chill for a while. Debbie Simon and the boys went ahead, while we waited for drinks, got mum back in the wheelchair, and got the lift to deck 7, walked across and then back down to deck 5.

Not an easy task on a busy night I can tell you! She knew exactly who we were, exactly who we were joining and exactly where they were sat. Oh dear, we must have made an impression over the last 12 nights. Only 89 yr olds are excused any etiquette! Simon made the mistake of telling me he worked for Virgin Media, oh deary me did I go off on one well he did ask we had received the most appalling customer service from Virgin Media since our house move, and he did ask for my comment, so he got them!

Christian tried to prepare the other lads at the table for the fact that all after dinner chocolates go to Mum. They were not impressed, and indeed refused to belive that it could be so. I showed them mums empty black evening bag, prepped and ready for a new delivery of after dinner delicacys. Fully lined with clean tissues. Sure enough two plates of handmade chocolate truffles arrived. Mums daggers were in her eyes. The plate infront of her was hers!

The plate at the other end of the table was offered up by Christian, and they glided effortlessly into Mums black beaded evening bag.

Mums mission was complete and it was signalled that she wished to leave the table! Earlier on this evening I had called by reception and swapped my disembarkation passes for the early ones. Just after I left the cabin, after putting mum to bed, I realised the passes were still in my evening bag and preventing them from shutting properly. So, I decided to remove said passes from my evening bag and slip them back under my cabin door, to save disturbing mum again.

Only trouble was I had walked a few yards down the corridor, so the cabin door I slipped them under was not my own! What a totally stupid thing to do.

I hope the occupants appreciated the benefit of the early embark passes, durr! Back to reception to explain myself. We got there eventually and the receptionist obliged with another two early passes. My stool in Planet Bar was waiting for me. My Cosmo was perfect. The company was first class and all was well with the world. Why oh why did we get the ents officer, on the last big night, that was the least interested in playing a few tunes for us.

Clearly the adult disco is an after thought. The teens get the DJ, adults get an ents officer with a laptop. The last couple of nights had been jumping, and clearly there was a lot in planet bar this evening up for a good boogie. But the room was oon half cleared.

may also

Grace suspended, smiling, in her oval frame as parents age around her as older siblings mature before her and new siblings are born to replace her.

If not for Grace my grandmother would never have given birth again at almost fifty endangered her own life to indulge her taste for ribbons and lace. Only to be saddled with another boy more active and mischievous than his brothers a boy whose chemistry experiments exploded every Sunday like clockwork. A boy who would grow up to study chemistry and medicine and seek a cure for what killed Grace. She has a B. She was awarded 1st place and was a featured guest poet in several Houston Poetry Fests.

He sets his broken bones, moves on. But where darkness dawdles through canopies of old trees. Hurt nudges black onto white unpleasant sensations prickle their way into purpled worms on white unlined paper. So I welcome hurts with garlands round their necks to perfume them, coddle them into a silk memory drizzle. Claire Joysmith is a professor, writer, poet, translator, and former healer.

Mother hugs her purse, what she does when out of her element. Mostly unassailable in her pressed slacks and blouse, matching jacket, she makes me wear a dress for the appointment. She is always making me wear dresses. My legs stick to the leather chair, a drab teen in the psychedelic 70s. The office is different than the examining room of our family doctor with cherry bookshelves and books, a globe.

I think of the places I would rather be. The doctor breezes in as doctors do. Squares of sunlight fall on a leather reading chair and hassock, plaid blanket spilling to the floor. The doctor clears his throat, unseals a jar of butterscotch from his desk, ring of dime store glass, smell of burnt sugar.

Despite myself, I salivate. The doctor tilts the jar towards me, eyebrows raised. I unwrap a candy, golden cellophane crinkling, calculating how much farther I will jog later. The doctor asks questions. I do stash pork chop in a napkin at the dining room table. I can subsist on an apple a day. I run for miles at dusk, up and down our hilly suburban streets, eternal light of the catholic church shining at my back. Clothes hang on me. The doctor paces behind his desk. Mother balms her lips.

I take it as a sign, an undeserving kind. Enough, says the doctor. He points to a print in a frame. What you see here triggers response. How does this make you feel? I see a bridge and lilypads. Private space of a gardener. I could be the gardener, foreground too verdant for words. Being a woman is not easy. All that lushness, ripening. Did a woman paint that? I ask the doctor, my voice weedy. Mother looks at me, sets her purse on the floor, her eyes the same brown as mine like dark chocolate like urgency.

In the early days, she hauled a mattress to the ocean view windows to sit and cry. Who can know the origin. I recall only her sorrow, not its source. In time, she adapted to a northern life, to its rhythms of sea, storm and gale. Her yard bonfired summer flame. Her smooth hands packed soil around roots of annuals in hanging moss baskets: Her long bangs caught, swept. She paused to swipe. Flourishing fruit trees, berries, abundant bloom, this shore I call home.

Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing, high school English-teaching Alaskan. When not exploring the summer lands and dark winter of the Yukon Territory, she lives in Sitka, Alaska with her husband and photographer, Bruce Christianson, and daughter Rie. The spot on her forehead was too off-center to be the jewel of a bindi on the brow of an Indian bride.

The spot was rough and red, irregular and raised. It would not heal. Once, at the post office a man startled and pointed. She saw herself in the glass over the portrait of the Postmaster General. There was a bead of blood large like a ruby over her right eye. Amarjeet took a small knife to the spot and sliced off thin layers for the lab. Her skin, under a scope at x magnification, was a fractured net of cells that were splitting, dividing fast.

The thing had a name. It was no longer the spot. It was squamous cell carcinoma in situ. And so that Stage I did not become Stage II there was chemotherapy cream for bedtime and sunblock for the day and hats and long sleeves in the garden.

There will be a small scar, said Dr. It is as though you have been anointed with a third eye chakra. He cupped her face in his dry hands. Wear it as a sign of what has been learned, he said. A sign of your new-found openness to the idea of death.

She had distinguished careers in television journalism, city government, and school public relations. I tell her it is either you or me. The hand that rocks it looks different to mine—how soft our pillows were, and how warm and sanitized by the sun—I am leaving this country for good, the hulk will rock me, even when I am sick— I will hold my stomach close to me like I do with my photo of my child.

These arms are not as buoyant as papyrus stalks. There are things in my mind I could never talk to you about. She flatters my body. This space folds its arms because it is adamant I am not empty enough. The mouths of the sea and the sky are streaming their winds through me like a great god. She is excited about the process of self-actualization, research in psychoanalysis, philosophy, and cosmogony.

Anna, 24, tells hard, neat: Priscilla Atkins is addicted to classrooms and the people in them. In past lives, she taught in Los Angeles and Honolulu. More recently she teaches and learns in Holland, Michigan. Here they are now on the bed with me. Ankle with Ace bandage, but they itch, they want out. They have been many places on their own, feeling hot black tarmac and damp sand, soft mud, hard pebbles, that yellowjacket, ow! They whisper to each other.

Wasps in the orange tile do not bother me although I hear them. Or I am in Holland walking the mud flats, but without my feet. Home is where your feet are. But your heart, your head, your hands? Their strong bronze toes in hand-stitched sandals. Most recent poetry collection: She also has co-authored textbooks and written a book on Wallace Stevens Wallace Stevens: The Celestial Possible , Twayne, Also, his work has appeared in three anthologies: Everyone says to move forward you need to point yourself toward where you want to go.

But people forget the kernel inside that guides us to turn away from the straight line, to hold a mirror up because to look directly ahead would turn us to stone. Emily Dickinson knew she had to tell the truth slant to tell all of it. This is not about being afraid to die, or living with having been sick.

This is about recognizing the brilliance of looking away when a god reveals its true form. It is about wandering a beach while afternoon violets to evening, looking for horseshoe crabs and following the sandpipers. And also about planting bulbs in concentric circles, so when they bloom, they bloom spectacularly.

Jessica Moser was born and raised in New York City. She lives in New York with her family. Jackie Langetieg has published two chapbooks and two collections of poetry, had her work appear in various journals and for the past 25 years has been in all but one of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets yearly calendars. She is retired and lives with her son and two cats in Verona, WI. His wound was not life threatening but chronic and afflicting it would dog him forever a condition untreatable by medicine or drugs.

Home remedies helped, hearing specific songs snapshots from albums thoughts and memories but were as effective as cough syrup for lung cancer. The pain of his loss knew no sorrow it had no faith cared not about his race or age, gender or religion. His healing showed no urgency was deaf to his prayers like a morphine drip it came gradual taking its own sweet time.

He enjoys fishing, kayaking, biking and camping with his kids in the remote regions of Wisconsin and Minnesota. They meant it as a lesson for not coming when called, sure she was hiding from them in the small woods, and drove away, up the gravelly side road, back onto the highway.

She is the winner of the Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize. We who have sullied the ocean return to its beaches clearing the waters for petrel skimming the surface of the open sea.

Susan Twiggs writes poetry and picture books. Her degrees are in Social Work and Psychology. At one time or another she has been a psychotherapist for families and children, a conflict resolution consultant, and a yoga teacher and studio owner.

She is grateful for her soul mate of over fifty years, John. Susan has a passion for travel, yoga, and all things natural. She enjoys directing plays drawn from picture books with her grandchildren. A stranger and I walk toward the pink glow. Connecting, knowing glances; camera hope.

The indentation — a thumb pressed on the sea. Slow-rising lava hump — arching boundary infusing the waiting gray — pink, purple, blue.

Sandpipers advance and retreat. Fire beyond the water, beyond the thorny Fall, beyond all groans and grasping, calling to a gleam inside of us. She lives in Sharpsburg, GA, with her husband, two almost-grown children, cat, and two dogs.

Pulmonary Fibrosis, and I want to uproot it, transplant it, bury it. I kneel to pray. This is all I have. This is hope that the grave will remain distant — to slow the approach of its onward march. We dine together at Easter. I tell you how as a child I remember prayer meetings held. We will splash in seaside waters along the cape; we will drink white wine; we will dance in long. Let us rejoice now and live in these tender times,. Diane Sahms-Guarnieri , a native Philadelphian, is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Reds and grays of foreseeable acquiescence.

But the human body is resilient and restorative, A metaphor showing shoals and lagoons, The deep sea cave in the ribcage, islets, and The way it heals itself as model or design. Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. We hear it hit the window, the sound deep like a ball thrown against thick leather, a line drive caught in a mitt.

Surely the bird must be dead. It lies splayed on the snow, its brown wings limp, its beak tilted down. We wait, talk about how long before an injured bird freezes, before a hawk carries it off. We stand still, culprits, in our glass house. But soon the sparrow moves one wing, then the other, tucks both under its belly, tilts its head from side to side as if checking for a break, and finding none flies to the feeder, as if forgiving us.

She lives in Madison, WI. Hands resting in prayer pose, I feel my body dent the spongy surface of the blue yoga mat. I seek to settle the wild lake of my mind. My old border collie struggles to lie down on her therapeutic dog bed. Her front paws extend out as she executes a perfect downward dog pose. But the stiff old hip joints remain stubbornly raised until finally, gravity pulls her bottom end down to the mat. Getting up requires similar tenacity. It is painful for me to watch Fancy perform her rituals each day as she paces between poses and seeks my warm hand for attention.

Nesting in the thick jungle of periwinkle vines in the large luminescent green clay planter outside my front door, a sparrow sits on four milky eggs snug in a small nest she has knit from dry yard grasses. I peel back the leggy lemon gem marigold to spy on this gift. Red and yellow pouch flowers and purple daisies help to keep our secret.

Early each morning when the front door opens, momma bird flies up to the roof and watches her eggs intently until we pass to go out for a slow walk up the street. Satisfied by our morning walk, we return home to a waning gibbous moon. My old collie pokes her nose over the threshold and stumbles into the house.

She is clueless to the new life that incubates off her shoulder, helpless against her own spirit about to rise. I wonder when these nested eggs will hatch? Will these crossings intersect as night into day? In meditation, I usher that divine pause. She is currently working on a collection of new poems and essays about island life. The back of my right knee — numb. A coffee table, puppy claws — I feel underneath the epidermis and twitch my leg away.

My husband avoided it. My own body made me queasy. Over a year after surgery, I urged him to palm the patch when his hands caress my legs. This misplaced puzzle piece he covers — the scar and my fears disappear altogether.

She is working on a larger poetic project about medicine and the body. Bands of rose ripple across the deep blue water As I lift my arms above the golden sun reflects off the droplets The gentle waves bathe my Spirit soothing her carrying away all the fatigue all the sorrows. Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. She has also authored a dozen travel guidebooks, and pens travel articles and narratives. Caputo has done over literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia.

For the past decade, she has been traveling through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. Follow her travels at: The patriarchy robbed you of your wild self. Left a self-loathing, judging monster in your place. You pour your compassion into African Violets that shrink if you look at them wrong. Did you know your girls do too? Whither on the vine?

Die for your affection? You never overwatered either— the violets or your girls. Touch me gently like you touch those violets. Speak softly to me like I hear you speak to them. Water me— not too much, not too little. Give me a place of honor in your house too.

Let me feel the warmth of sunshine on my face, your loving hand holding me, pruning away what is dying so I can thrive too. Let me feel the love you pour into those violets. Let me thrive, grow, bloom— the greatest gift. The beautiful blossoming of a well-tended daughter. Called Necessity, it rose like Atlantis out of the ambiguous ocean of the twentieth century, a strand where big medicine met sisterhood and mythology. Seeing head scarf and lymphedema sleeve, she recognized a sister and held me with the sweetness of shared suffering, heat and light pouring into me, an island under the sun.

In , there were more than 2. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment. Sandra Lindow , Menomonie, Wisconsin, recently lost her husband of 34 years to a brief, very aggressive cancer.

She misses his support and inspiration deeply and is working to turn her sadness and loss into various expressions of beauty. Fortunately, she has many islands of loving connections in her life. Mother walking toward the dark water, hair loose down her back, auburn, amber, gray, wading in, deeper, deeper until only her hair fanned and floated on the polished black.

The air was hot, her mouth was dry, no water in the house, she dressed and found the pail, the handle cool across her callused palm, the light strengthened as she walked, bird song raining through her, a yellow warble squeezed from brown, a trill of garnet rising to ruby, crow caws, star shards, bursting white, white when flint sparks steel.

At the spring she dipped and filled her pail, her dampened skirt hem, the eddy of milky bubbles, the fog just off the beach, fading, clear. She lugged it down to watch the back-lit breakers lift to cresting curves, hold and hold, over-top, then break, cataracts of emerald slurred with leaf-bud green, frothing into white cumulus, nimbus gray, foam enswirling ankles as she turns and turns, the pail sloshing over, in the draining wake.

He is a retired elementary educator who taught in Oregon and overseas. He is the author of, A Glossary of Memory , an imagined memoir in 26 poems. He has been a programmer and producer at the local community radio station, an actor in community theater productions, and co-host of a monthly poetry open mic. To be allowed to heal. Later, the smell of sacred wood will have woven its way into your clothing, hair, will leave itself in the centre of your pillow. How it filled you, washed out even your darkest, wounded places.

Bring me your sorrow, your sleeplessness. Scatter them among my shadows. Bring me your loss, your loneliness. Bury them under my dust. Bring me your failures, your mistakes. Leave them in the center of my crescent. Bring me guilt and shame. There were people getting off buses and people clambering to get on buses, with 5 ships it was too chaotic and I gave up within about 30 seconds. Yes, I walked all the way back again. I really am crackers. Mum opted for her bed, I opted for a very quick change, my sunlounger up by breakers and a cocktail.

A Missionarys Downfall to be precise and very nice it was too! Im really surprised at how many people have stayed onboard today. Civitavecchia usually means an empty ship but not today. I keep the suntan lotion and cocktail levels nicely topped up, and also keep checking on mum. I bought her back on deck for some lunch but it was too hot for her so I pushed her into the shade for a while.

Then I started to melt, so had to do something about it and went and sat in the shade for a while. As I wandered over to the railings for a nosey I felt a lovely breeze.

Oh it was bliss, so I parked mum against the railings and she was happy watching the passengers arrive back on the buses and supervising the workmen who have been extending the harbour defence for over 12 months now.

I laid on my lounger and let the breeze glide over me, oh it was heaven. I kept nodding off, goodness whats wrong with me, anyone would think I trekked into town this morning.

Mum needed her bed again, so I took her back down and then came back to my sunlounger. I put the light out and I was gone in nanao seconds. Trouble was a woke up dribbling which is never good. Disaster when I got to the cabin and could see that I had caught the sun all the way down one side of my face and not the other. Have to sort that out tomorrow. Casual night tonight and a suitable maxi dress was sorted for me, but mum was not so easy to please with her choice of wear this evening.

A much welcomed, nice relaxing pre dinner drink or two in Glass House. This has become one of my favourite spots for pre dinner drinks. Lots of people watching opportunities as they come and go to the various locations, so plenty of dress code watching opportunities and there were some interesting ones this evening.

Went for dinner in the Meridian at about 10 past 8, after stopping for a photo in the Atrium. Not so sure it will be to my liking in casual attire but thought I would give it a go. Very pleasant table for 8 this evening, and a lovely meal again. Dover sole was very nice, treacle tart was very fattening. A little browse of the shops but it was toy sale night so nothing much to see.

We walked through Brodies and it was busy as usual. This was our usual hang out last time we were on Azura but it just seems too busy this time around for me to even consider. After mum was in bed I went for my usual little wander. I was at Planet Bar before Mary and John this evening.

I asked Sid for something long cold and fruity and he obliged with a Raspberry Mojhito. Everyone is tired this evening, the heat of Civitavecchia has zapped us all, plus lots of people had spent the day in Rome, so the ship in general was quiet.

I had my earliest night ever of the cruise and headed for my bed before 1. We have berthed port side too again today so no quay side for us to observe, but I do think we might get the sun this afternoon. We have been port side too in every port apart from Barcelona so far.

MSC Sinfonia has just come in and berthed behind us. We have a clear view across the bay and I expect the sun to be on our side later this afternoon.

After a bit of breakfast out on the aft Terrace we ventured ashore. At last they have dragged the Naples terminal building into the 21st century, although I did quite like the charm of the old fashioned little shop units within the original terminal.

Its now more of a designer oultlet. Some very nice shoe and fashion stores and nice jewellery etc. We were back onboard within half an hour and sat at Breakers bar enjoying a large rum punch. It is very very hot again, but there is an occasional gentle breeze just wafting across the deck. It is a struggle to sit it out though and we manage it until noon when we go down a deck for a spot of lunch in the shade. But then Headliners started to rehearse for tonights deck party.

Blimeys, I know it was a sound check, but I hope it sounds better on the night!! Had to get away from that din. Back down to the cabin and result — the balcony is in full blown sunshine.

Mum has her bed to curl up in, I have the balcony to sunbathe on and I can nip in and out to check my emails from my laptop. Decided this afternoon would be a good time to do some laundry. No, I got that wrong! It was extremely busy in there! I stood around and waited for a washer, and I did get lucky with a tumble dryer becoming free when I needed one.

Some people looked like they were doing a weeks wash for a family of four in there. I just did the essentials and got out. Most strenuous thing I did was walk a few yards to the laundrette.

Tropical Party tonight, so tropical gear was donned, well for me a long bright dress. We are dining together so I am despatched to obtain the bleeper.

This is where Freedom dining falls down for me. We are enjoying some pre dinner drinks and we know that we want to dine as a party of 7. Not quite ready now, so try and pre empt the situation by trying to get a bleeper for a table becoming ready between say 8.

But no, restaurant manager informs me it cant be done. We can go in now — but we are all enjoying a drink, or we can come down when we are ready and take pot luck. Isnt that a bit antiquated? We did go down at about 10 past 8, so as to avoid the 8.

Trouble was it was right under an airvent and it was very chilly. It was like the north wind blowing down on mum and I had to go back to the cabin and get her a woolly cardigan. We had a lovely meal again and lots of fun. I decided to retreat to Planet Bar and enjoyed a quiet couple of drinks sat at the bar. The ship had got that little bit of a bobble on and the gentle rocking was making me sleepy.

For me it was an early night, but it was good to snuggle under my duvet. It was even early enough for me to comprehend and order some room service breakfast.

My eyes opened at about 5. Next thing I knew room service was knocking on the door at 8. Yay, toast was still warm so race was on to get it buttered for mum before it went cold. I enjoyed my cornflakes and juice out on the balcony as we made our approach to Ajaccio. It was a stunning sail in. We had a helicopter along side, presumably taking photos for a brochure or a video perhaps.

Im sure we have always been at tender here, but looks like they have built a new berth because we docked. Starboard side to, too. The church bells were ringing, we are overlooking the harbour and it is just stunning. And I can see the market is open today so Mum will be happy. Napoleon and his men came down to the quayside to great us.

They did a little parade and a changing of the guard. Only trouble was they decided to put two of Napoleons guards on the main gangway, and do a changing of the guard every few minutes. They looked very impressive but were causing a bit of chaos by the main gangway with everyone wanting photos with them as they came down the gangway.

They drummed on their drums and marched about for a bit before retreating back through the port gates. It was packed, the alleys were too tight and it was all on raised pavements with kerbs to negotiate all the time. Not easy with a wheelchair. I walked all the way back across the square and tried to cut down to the beach along a side street but the pavements were just ridiculous. Very uneven, and the stupid French had parked their mopeds on the pavements!

So instead I walked along the road and held up all the traffic. Lots of inviting little cafes and bars in the harbour, but no Mr C to share the experience with so straight back to the ship.

Poor lad was horrified! So I felt obliged to retreat to Breakers Bar for a cooling drink. Had a bit of trouble obtaining my Moscow Mule today. Showed him the bill to prove it, and then barman and barsteward set too to find it for me.

Its on page 2 under E if any of the seniors in the bar department would like to put that right for future reference! Lunchtime was approaching and Mum has agreed at last to return to Glass House. No point arguing with her about it because I wont convince her otherwise. Anyway, we made it to Glass House and it was total tranquillity.

So cool in there, totally empty and we were the only people along with about 7 bar staff. We had a nice table by the window with big comfy chairs that made me want to curl up and just go to sleep. I ordered myself a bottle of Blind River, not with the intention of drinking it all, but it means I can take it back to my cabin and drink at my leisure.

Mum had catch of the day and I had 3 dishes. Oh my goodness, just the tempura prawns would have been enough for me. I also had the ham risllette and the salmon fishcakes. Even went beserk at the end and had the morello cherry desert to share! Mum soon squirreled the cherries of the top, so it was left to me to dive down for the cherries at the bottom.

Lunch had left us both stuffed. Straight back to the cabin and mum was soon under the duvet. I retreated to the balcony and before I knew it my eyes were closed and I was fast asleep. I spent the afternoon laying on the bed and on the balcony.

Most strenuous thing I did was fetch a glass of cola from Breakers. We had a little browse of the shops this evening, then a formal photo at the top of the atrium, then it was pre drinner drinks time in Blue Bar. Linda and Chris were not far behind us and then Debbie and the boys arrived. We went down to dinner at 8. I was pretty dam sure that they did, but opted for the safe bet of sauvignon blanc instead.

Wine menu never arrived. So I had to call her again. Oh look Pinot Gris, large glass please!! First time I have experienced that, but like I have said before they no longer employ dedicated wine waiters and instead just rotate the bar staff to wait in the restaurants.

I had chosen Maple glazed chicken for my main, but when it came it looked like a grey poached piece of chicken. Not appetising at all. I took one of the French fries, stone cold.

The chicken — even colder. All of the food had been really good up until this point. I checked mums duck and that was ok. Eventually the waiter appeared to check if all was well with everyones meals, but I had to inform him mine was far from ok. No rush was made to get me a replacement, and my dish went back with the waiter when he went to fetch another tables order. Of course everyone at our table had long finished their meal, so for me the moment of wanting to eat had passed.

Oh dear, just one of those nights I guess. Best part of tonights meal for me was the absolute stunning sunset outside the window. Oh dear, we had a laugh in there tonight. I have no idea what was going on, it really was all a bit random, but it was very funny and me and Mary laughed and laughed! Alan put in an appearance, and Debbie came up to see what a night out in Planet was like, so all in all a good time was had by all. The drinks were flowing, nothing unusual there.

It was a late one and I had to creep into the cabin in the dark. Its not easy to be quiet when you are still giggling. We are just gliding along and hardly breaking the sea this morning. Its like glass, with barely a ripple as we pass through it. There is some land to the starboard side, but I have no idea what it is. The bridge have just announced a pod of dolphins down the port side, so all is good for a Sunday. Pursers department have just made a very stern warning about the reservation of sunbeds and the Horizon daily paper also had a big piece in it stating that anyone who goes out early, for the purpose of reserving sunbeds, will have their belongings removed.

There will also be regular 15 minute checks throughout the day and belongings removed. I have just walked through decks 16 and 15, and there were pairs of officers all along both decks watching for the reservation of sunbeds. Its also very clearly stated on the big screen. Breakfast is not going well this morning. Of course it was cold by the time I got it back to the room, so that has not gone down to well.

I have had to call room service to come and save the day, but mum is having trouble comprehending why its taking him more than two minutes. Room service breakfast was a total disaster this morning. The tea was a pot of warm coffee. The Danish pastrys were two bread rolls and the toast was cold and crunchy. It did take a long long time to arrive too. I ended up with a refreshing glass of Pimms by Breakers this morning. Thats a cool way to start a Sunday on a cruise ship lol.

I soon spotted two sunloungers becoming available and we settled down on there for a while to soak up the rays. After the disastrous breakfast I fetched mum a nice early lunch of cold meats and salad. She was ready for her bed after that.

I had planned a nice chilled out day on the balcony with my bottle of wine, but the sun decided it was going to spend the morning directly above the ship and then took the lean towards the port side.

I went back on deck for an hour, had some goujons and fries, but the fun in the sun by the pool was a little too much for me today. I needed peace and quiet so eventually retreated to the cabin.

I walked through the buffet and the smell of chocolate from the chocoholics buffet was to sickly for me. It is nowhere near as impressive in the buffet dining venues as it used to be set up in the main restaurants.

Gallley walk though too today, but not sure how popular it was. Linda was having a quiet 5 mins down by the Terrace Pool so I joined her for a cocktail and lots of girly chat. Meanwhile, back at the cabin. Mum was cold and the heat hit me as soon as I walked through the door. Doors shut, heating whacked up to the extreme.

Oh dear soon got that sorted and went out on the balcony for some fresh air. Despite the sun lingering over the top of the ship, one corner of our balcony is now basking in sunshine, but its very very hot.

I cant win today. Hopefully the feeling was mutal ; Then I chatted to Blake the Media Manager who has actually been my new best friend this cruise. Blake and Ancy have just been absolute starts with helping me get my head around this trial of MB internet usage, and for me, both of them have gone the extra mile. I was happy to leave. Met up with Linda and Chris down in Blue Bar and Linda was in control of obtaining a bleeper tonight.

I had the exact same problem this evening with ordering a glass of wine that I did last night. Different wine waiter, because different section. At least he was willing to look for it! Lovely tomato soup this evening. On the way out the restaurant the restaurant manager stopped me to apologise about last nights meal and the way it was handled. I knew that it was unusual for the way it was handled at the time, so I was happy to learn that it had been noted and dealt with.

Mum went off to bed and I had a couple of emails to send that flatly refused to send earlier. Always a bit paranoid about messing with my internet after a few drinkies, but I double treble checked I had logged off and headed for Planet Bar.

Oh we had a fab evening this evening. We laughed all night long. Neil and Matt came up for a drink, because Neil had heard about our legendary nights at the bar. For once we entertained the entertainment team. Apparently poor Matt had a bit of a blonde moment earlier and really thought we were going to Vigo.

Poor Matt he took some stick for that. And treble the amount of laughing that we usually do. I even did a bit of dancing to Lady GaGa of all things! The night ended when we were the only ones left and the bar staff retreated to the corner for a lie down with their paperwork. We had kept them busy this evening. I wonder what we look like from the other side of the bar, lol. I always insist on taking the scenic route to bed, via deck 7. I was escorted by Alan.

Bumped into Christian and some teens outside Manhattan who were very surprised to see us. Must have wondered what oldies were doing up at this time, lol. By the time I reached the cabin I realised I had a bit of Cinderella moment and had lost the tip off my heel of my shoe. Thankfully I spotted it further down the corridor.

Im no sooner through the door and Mum wants to inform me that a its late, and b the clocks have gone forward! Easy for me to say, but you try explaining that one to a confused 89 year old who is having non of it! She also insisted on lecturing me about the lateness of the hour and wanting to know who, what, where and why I had been out until this hour! I had no comprehension of what time it was by now. I found taking the key card out of the energy slot by the door, and plunging the cabin into darkenss, put and end to mums whitterings and lectures because she had no idea where I was!

Not so sure I did either!! No, I really am. Up, washed, dressed and into Breakfast in Peninsular before 8. Gibraltar big cloud of mist and drizzle is hovering over the rock of Gibraltar and the rest of the weather looks non too promising. I walked into town and back pushing the wheelchair. There are one or two new supermarkets opened up in the new units on the way into town.

Every year when we come here there is a little bit more to the development of the walk into town. We dodged a couple of showers this morning, but the by the time I got back to the balcony there was just a glint of sunshine. I fetched a wrap and a burger from Frankies Grill and enjoyed my lunch in the sun on the balcony with a glass of wine.

Sailaway was at 1. So we sat and had a singsong together while Neil and the team exerted all their energy on the stage. I know I will get the blame for leading her astray later on. I had to go in search of some glue to fix my shoe from last night. The Emporium obliged with that. Bumped into Debbie and we went for a coffee and a Natter in Java. No escaping it, my bed is calling me. So I had a meeting with my duvet. The sea had a bit of a bobble on this evening and getting ready was a bit of a struggle.

Had a bit of a wander looking at photos and then managed to get a seat in Blue bar for pre dinner drinks. That bar is getting busier and busier. Lovely dinner in Meridian this evening. I had the Tandorri chicken, which was perhaps a little spicy for me, but very nice non the less. Negotiated a really nice Bin End this evening. I actually got one of the more experienced wine waiters for a change. My usual spot in Planet Bar and it was buzzing up there again. Mohito man, Agi, was mixing me some very acceptable flavours of mojhito this evening.

One of the bartenders went the extra mile and went to another bar to get me a glass of Peller Canadian Fizz. I also enjoyed a little Samba thats a dance not a drink , not easy in high heels! I had to take the blame for leading Mary astray too earlier at the deck party. Im always in the frame for something! Alan put in a bit of a guest appearance too. I have no idea what time it was when I left but I know that I was the last out of there.

Battle of the clocks resumed when I got back to the cabin again. You might not believe this but mum woke me at some unearthly hour to ask if the clocks were back, forward or on their head!

Fed up of time now!!! I caved in eventually and obliged with a half cup of tea. Anyone would think it was mum that had been out sampling the delights of the bars until the early hours. Made it to breakfast in Peninsular and I opted for a cooked breakfast for once. I find it quieter than the crunch of the cereals.

Lisbon is very over cast and we disembarked and were straight onto one of the wheelchair friendly buses. Meant I had to stand a wheelchair watch though. It drizzled as strolled around Lisbon, nothing too drastic but some sunshine would have been appreciated. Mum added to her hoard of treasure she has purchased this cruise and added a ring and bracelet to the cache of 4 handbags, 2 rings, pair of shoes and a necklace!

I was happy with my box of 6 warm custard tarts. The sun is coming out just as we arrive on the dockside. Quick change and upto Breakers bar for me.

Mum needs a lie down, again! Collected mum at lunch time and we had a nice lemon chicken baguette in the sun. Sat for a while longer but it was getting too hot for mum, so we retreated to the balcony.

I went for a wander around Prom and up to the bow on deck 8, before retreating to the balcony and catching a few more rays, because I have no idea how many are left?! Obviously I have attended a few in my time but this one seemed to have the entire ship in attendance. It was buzzing, the sun was beating down and Neil and his team were full of energy. Oh please Neil can I have a little bit of it. It was possibly one of the longest sailaway partys too. First we had to wait for a latecomer back to the ship always one!

Anyone on that bridge must have thought we were totally bonkers, waiving our flags and cheering loudly. Hope it made them smile. The party just kept going, Pimms seemed to be coming at me from all directions and it was taking some keeping up with. Neil and his team finished with a walk through of the decks, lots of kisses and hand shakes and then back on stage for Azura theme tune and the elbow dance.

Hats off to Neil and his team they are the very best at sea! Meanwhile, back at the cabin I have 50 minutes to do a turnaround and get showered , dressed and out. Pre dinner drinks in Planet this evening for a change, and I was going to be so good and have a cola, but somehow I heard myself asking for a Margeritta with salt rim! We were eating in Trattoria this evening so at 7. Maximum is a 6, and we cant even have that one and squash because someone is already earmarked for it. Im told the best they can do is a table for 4, plus a table for 3, but wont guarantee they will be together or at the same time.

I was given a laminated piece of paper with a number on it and told to come back at 8. Im not impressed, a very hit and miss service. Is it me but would a bleeper system, like Meridian not be about 50 times more efficient? All way to hit and miss and he could tell I was not best pleased.

We were invited to sit in the Cafe next door and wait. Not very pleasant as it was being cleaned at the time. Eventually we were seated, on a squashed table for 5, plus a table for 2! But it could have been a one off and I need to try again at some point. After mum had gone to bed I headed for my usual spot in Planet. But who are all these strangers? I just wing everything and hope for the best. It works for me. One of them was a bit shocked when I asked for a glass of cola at one point, I think he had to go for a lie down after that.

We were relatively early leaving, well early for us of late anyway. I went via deck 7 to check on the boys and girls and to see what they were upto. There has been a bit of trouble at mill, but I have to say that all of the teens that I have experienced have been a polite and very pleasant young adults. I managed to get into bed, in complete darkness and mum never stirred, not even for half a cup of tea, or to ask what time the clocks went back forward etc.

Last night I was asked what my perfect day would be. I responded with, sun on the balcony all morning so I could chill without any effort and then an afternoon in bed, followed my an evening of partying.

Out of bed and into breakfast before 9 this morning — how do I do that? Cabin steward advised me enroute to keep my shades on. Apparently red slits for eyes is not a good look for a lady. Thought it rude to eat in my shades so they were removed and I hope nobody noticed. Bun fight, summer sale, in Meridian this morning. Not my idea of fun at all, but a certain octogenarian likes a bargain so I had to oblige.

Bumped into Linda and Chris on the way out, and linda just laughed at me, so I threw the shades back on. Chris had to take a double look. The sun was beating on the balcony. I considered a glass of cold wine, but opted instead for a custard tart and half a cup of tea!

I had some form filling to do, some cruise nominations to complete, errands to run etc. By the time I had done all that, the cloud cover had come and the sun was gone. Decided I would partake in a little bit of packing, just incase the sun puts in a full days appearance tomorrow.

Mum spotted the FitFlops on the way out of lunch and really fancies a pair. I had a woman in fits of laugher when I pointed out to mum that a pair of Fit Flops were a bit pointless to her. Christian was causing chaos at the jewellery stall, making his purchase.

Im not so sure that the contribution from his two new aunties was helping. Back to the cabin and one glance at the duvet and I was in.

Pre dinner drinks in the Planet Bar again this evening and tonight we were joined by Simon and his boys, who were due to dine with Debbie, Kieran and Christian but may not have realised at the time that we came as a package lol.

I was worried that a table of 10 would be difficult to obtain on the last formal nite, so poor Kieran got the job of runner for a pager. He soon returned to inform us that a table was ready and we could go now. Bit of confusion with drinks still arriving, and it would have been nice to just sit and chill for a while. Debbie Simon and the boys went ahead, while we waited for drinks, got mum back in the wheelchair, and got the lift to deck 7, walked across and then back down to deck 5.

Not an easy task on a busy night I can tell you! She knew exactly who we were, exactly who we were joining and exactly where they were sat. Oh dear, we must have made an impression over the last 12 nights. Only 89 yr olds are excused any etiquette! Simon made the mistake of telling me he worked for Virgin Media, oh deary me did I go off on one well he did ask we had received the most appalling customer service from Virgin Media since our house move, and he did ask for my comment, so he got them!

Christian tried to prepare the other lads at the table for the fact that all after dinner chocolates go to Mum. They were not impressed, and indeed refused to belive that it could be so. I showed them mums empty black evening bag, prepped and ready for a new delivery of after dinner delicacys. Fully lined with clean tissues. Sure enough two plates of handmade chocolate truffles arrived. Mums daggers were in her eyes. The plate infront of her was hers! The plate at the other end of the table was offered up by Christian, and they glided effortlessly into Mums black beaded evening bag.

Mums mission was complete and it was signalled that she wished to leave the table! Earlier on this evening I had called by reception and swapped my disembarkation passes for the early ones.

Just after I left the cabin, after putting mum to bed, I realised the passes were still in my evening bag and preventing them from shutting properly. So, I decided to remove said passes from my evening bag and slip them back under my cabin door, to save disturbing mum again. Only trouble was I had walked a few yards down the corridor, so the cabin door I slipped them under was not my own! What a totally stupid thing to do. I hope the occupants appreciated the benefit of the early embark passes, durr!

Back to reception to explain myself. We got there eventually and the receptionist obliged with another two early passes. My stool in Planet Bar was waiting for me. My Cosmo was perfect. The company was first class and all was well with the world.

Why oh why did we get the ents officer, on the last big night, that was the least interested in playing a few tunes for us. Clearly the adult disco is an after thought. The teens get the DJ, adults get an ents officer with a laptop. The last couple of nights had been jumping, and clearly there was a lot in planet bar this evening up for a good boogie. But the room was oon half cleared. DJ informed me that the volume could not be increased. Alan was highly amused by the glares we got each time we approached the dance floor.

It was a late one tonight. A very late one. I needed my quiet moment in the wing. On reflection I probably needed a coffee, but a visit to the cafe was not on the cards. Back at the cabin, I needed to see the stars but at 4.

Disaster, the fog had taken the stars away. I was so upset about that and sat and cried: I actually thought I had beaten them tonight and they had all gone to bed. But no, Christian and Co were spotted and even at that time of the morning Christian was a perfect young gentlemen and hugged away my tears.

They were actually trying to teach the young lad, who had earlier been receiving etiquette lessons from me at the dinner table, how to hug. So Aubtie Jane was tasked with the mission. I confess he was not an easy subject. More like a bent banana, who seemed to think that toes and shoulders touching constituted a hug. He seemed horrified that a bit of chest, with a hint of thigh should be included. We were getting there so I left him to practice on someone a little closer to his own age.

The sun is out and the sea is calm so all is well, but not in Janes world: I need some sleep. I need some food. But a cocktail of tablets and water were the only things I could face. There was hardly a sole on deck 15 by 9. Mmm, I wonder which.

Maybe they were just being sensible and having a lie in? Oh a lie in, I wonder what one of those is? I managed all of two hours in bed last nite. Mum has got it sussed.

Sleeps all afternoon, wakes for dinner, and back in bed by I did the majority of mums packing yesterday, but today I have my two cases to unpack. Seems like a mammoth task, but it was soon done. I had been invited to lunch in sindhu but was still feeling a little more than delicate. I decided to take mum upto Breakers bar and get her some fish goujons and see how I feel. I bumped into Linda and Chris in GlassHouse who had just ordered the tempura king prawns.

I fian;ly settled on a jacket potato and baked beans from Frankies grill and sat on the balcony with a glass of water. It was really good. Now, I just needed to sort my sleep deprivation out and all would be well with the world.

When I sleep, mum awakes. And when Mums awake, no chance of sleep! I retreaded to the sunshine and peace of the balcony with my last glass of wine and mesmerised myself with the sea. We were out of the cabin early this evening, so I had time to kill before pre dinner drinks in Blue Bar. Shops is always a good diversion for mum, but I would no sooner bring her out of one of the deck 6 shops and push her across to the other shop on the other side, than she would spot the one on the opposite side and insist we looked in that one too!

I was dizzy, and too tired to explain we were going from A to B and back again, so took advantage of a lift, and threw myself at a sofa in Blue Bar. My final glass of Peller Canadian Fizz was soon ordered and mum went a little mad and ordered a pineapple juice instead of her usual lemonade, small, no ice!

Linda and Chris soon arrived and we were soon on the cockatils. A hush came over the entire ship when the Captain came on the address system asking for passenger assistance to give blood, so anyone of a certain blood group and carrying their donor card was asked to go to the medical centre. Linda Kieran and Christian were next to arrive. Shock horror it was only 10 past 8 but he was given a bleeper. We never got a table until 9. It was a lovely meal though.

I had the lemon sole and it was lovely, all except me and mum had the sirloin steak and they all declared it extremely good. Goodbyes at the dinner table were painful tonight. I had made some lovely, lovely friends. Friends that I had looked forward to seeing each evening, and sharing some laughs and chats.

Mum had been totally mesmerised by all the laughter and banter. Who would have thought that on the first formal night, we could have all sat down at Freedom dining, not knowing who we were going to get, and we just hit it off and decided we had to do it again.

Such a broad age range from 16 to 89, but we could all laugh together. Christian and Kieran even learnt to accept that the after dinner chocolates were not for sharing, and did infact all belong to a certain 89 year old!

Christian and Kieran had to go to their cabin and sort that packing out! Boys I hope you sorted it?! I took mum upto her bed and headed to the Planet Bar for one final time.

My emotions are all over the place still and me and Mary are up and down of the barstools like jack in the boxes. In fact I tried several combinations of beverage, including even water at one point, but still I was on another planet.

It gave the rest of the room something to chatter about.

are

Oh dear, grey skys and a bit of drizzle but its early. I couldnt be bothered to make the effort to get breakfast in the restaurant so I braved a walk upto self service and acquired some toast and a couple of pastries. The complimentary shuttle service is greatly appreciated though. There was already a queue for the wheelchair adapted one, so we opted for the non adapted coach and two gentlemen very kindly moved from the front seat to allow mum to be seated without too much hassle.

It is a long boring drive into Toulon, hampered by stop start traffic. Mum has a unique way of marking her ports of call for enjoyment, and for Mum Toulon scored 11 out of Which loosly translates to she got plenty of bargains on the market. It is a nice little market and a pleasant enough shopping street. Back through the harbour and we joined the queue for the bus back to Azura.

We were quite lucky and we were only one shuttle bus length back, but the queue soon formed because all the shuttle bus drivers appeared to be in lunch, and loads of buses were parked up on the side of the car park. We managed to get on the second bus back, but by then the queue was way back across the car park and back to the gates. A lot of fed up looking passengers. The drive back was a little quicker than getting there at around 25 mins, but just as we stepped off the bus the heavens opened and we got drowned running to the front of the ship for the wheelchair access gangway.

We had a lovely lovely evening, and a nice meal with lots of chatter. It sounds simple enough to understand, but the mixture of bold and normal print in the daily newssheet leans more towards the casual, and I feel thats what a lot of people dressed as last time.

So tonight passengers have been warned that gents must wear a jacket if dining in Peninsular, oriental or Meridian, and drinking in Blue bar, Planet and somewhere else which I cant recall. There were certainly plenty dressed the same throughout the ship later too. A lot of people were heading for Rome tomorrow so many had taken to their beds early. They had been to XVII for a meal this evening and said it was superb. I will get to try that place one day. Alann decided to grace us with his presence this evening so he some catching up to do with all the recent events of dodgy men at the bar etc lol.

Its a hot one today! I had looked out and had wrongly presumed we were berthed a little closer to the port gate this time, so after breakfast in the Peninsular restaurant we went ashore nice and early. Well, it might not be far to walk on a normal day, but in the searing heat, complete with a delicate little hangover, and the sun blasting onto me, it felt like a trek across the desert. When I eventually reached the port gates I recalled that the precinct was on a slight incline and I had to push the wheelchair up it.

Oh boy this market had better be open when I got there. Thankfully it was, and it was in the shade, which was bliss and greatly appreciated. A bottle of ice cold water would have been appreciated more but Mum was on a mission. Bags and shiney things to be looked at. She managed 3 handbags and a necklace today. Not paying more than 12 euros for any of them.

I got a lovely white sparkly kaftan swimwear coverup for 5 euros and a much needed fushia pink handbag, for 10 euros. So we were able to leave happy after a successful shopping mission. I was hoping to get the bus back to the ship, but once we were through the port gate the pavement was very uneven and difficult to negotiate with a wheelchair.

There were people getting off buses and people clambering to get on buses, with 5 ships it was too chaotic and I gave up within about 30 seconds. Yes, I walked all the way back again. I really am crackers. Mum opted for her bed, I opted for a very quick change, my sunlounger up by breakers and a cocktail. A Missionarys Downfall to be precise and very nice it was too!

Im really surprised at how many people have stayed onboard today. Civitavecchia usually means an empty ship but not today. I keep the suntan lotion and cocktail levels nicely topped up, and also keep checking on mum. I bought her back on deck for some lunch but it was too hot for her so I pushed her into the shade for a while.

Then I started to melt, so had to do something about it and went and sat in the shade for a while. As I wandered over to the railings for a nosey I felt a lovely breeze.

Oh it was bliss, so I parked mum against the railings and she was happy watching the passengers arrive back on the buses and supervising the workmen who have been extending the harbour defence for over 12 months now. I laid on my lounger and let the breeze glide over me, oh it was heaven. I kept nodding off, goodness whats wrong with me, anyone would think I trekked into town this morning. Mum needed her bed again, so I took her back down and then came back to my sunlounger.

I put the light out and I was gone in nanao seconds. Trouble was a woke up dribbling which is never good. Disaster when I got to the cabin and could see that I had caught the sun all the way down one side of my face and not the other. Have to sort that out tomorrow. Casual night tonight and a suitable maxi dress was sorted for me, but mum was not so easy to please with her choice of wear this evening.

A much welcomed, nice relaxing pre dinner drink or two in Glass House. This has become one of my favourite spots for pre dinner drinks. Lots of people watching opportunities as they come and go to the various locations, so plenty of dress code watching opportunities and there were some interesting ones this evening. Went for dinner in the Meridian at about 10 past 8, after stopping for a photo in the Atrium.

Not so sure it will be to my liking in casual attire but thought I would give it a go. Very pleasant table for 8 this evening, and a lovely meal again. Dover sole was very nice, treacle tart was very fattening. A little browse of the shops but it was toy sale night so nothing much to see. We walked through Brodies and it was busy as usual. This was our usual hang out last time we were on Azura but it just seems too busy this time around for me to even consider.

After mum was in bed I went for my usual little wander. I was at Planet Bar before Mary and John this evening. I asked Sid for something long cold and fruity and he obliged with a Raspberry Mojhito. Everyone is tired this evening, the heat of Civitavecchia has zapped us all, plus lots of people had spent the day in Rome, so the ship in general was quiet.

I had my earliest night ever of the cruise and headed for my bed before 1. We have berthed port side too again today so no quay side for us to observe, but I do think we might get the sun this afternoon.

We have been port side too in every port apart from Barcelona so far. MSC Sinfonia has just come in and berthed behind us. We have a clear view across the bay and I expect the sun to be on our side later this afternoon.

After a bit of breakfast out on the aft Terrace we ventured ashore. At last they have dragged the Naples terminal building into the 21st century, although I did quite like the charm of the old fashioned little shop units within the original terminal. Its now more of a designer oultlet. Some very nice shoe and fashion stores and nice jewellery etc. We were back onboard within half an hour and sat at Breakers bar enjoying a large rum punch. It is very very hot again, but there is an occasional gentle breeze just wafting across the deck.

It is a struggle to sit it out though and we manage it until noon when we go down a deck for a spot of lunch in the shade. But then Headliners started to rehearse for tonights deck party. Blimeys, I know it was a sound check, but I hope it sounds better on the night!! Had to get away from that din.

Back down to the cabin and result — the balcony is in full blown sunshine. Mum has her bed to curl up in, I have the balcony to sunbathe on and I can nip in and out to check my emails from my laptop. Decided this afternoon would be a good time to do some laundry. No, I got that wrong! It was extremely busy in there! I stood around and waited for a washer, and I did get lucky with a tumble dryer becoming free when I needed one. Some people looked like they were doing a weeks wash for a family of four in there.

I just did the essentials and got out. Most strenuous thing I did was walk a few yards to the laundrette. Tropical Party tonight, so tropical gear was donned, well for me a long bright dress. We are dining together so I am despatched to obtain the bleeper. This is where Freedom dining falls down for me. We are enjoying some pre dinner drinks and we know that we want to dine as a party of 7.

Not quite ready now, so try and pre empt the situation by trying to get a bleeper for a table becoming ready between say 8. But no, restaurant manager informs me it cant be done. We can go in now — but we are all enjoying a drink, or we can come down when we are ready and take pot luck.

Isnt that a bit antiquated? We did go down at about 10 past 8, so as to avoid the 8. Trouble was it was right under an airvent and it was very chilly. It was like the north wind blowing down on mum and I had to go back to the cabin and get her a woolly cardigan.

We had a lovely meal again and lots of fun. I decided to retreat to Planet Bar and enjoyed a quiet couple of drinks sat at the bar. The ship had got that little bit of a bobble on and the gentle rocking was making me sleepy. For me it was an early night, but it was good to snuggle under my duvet.

It was even early enough for me to comprehend and order some room service breakfast. My eyes opened at about 5. Next thing I knew room service was knocking on the door at 8. Yay, toast was still warm so race was on to get it buttered for mum before it went cold.

I enjoyed my cornflakes and juice out on the balcony as we made our approach to Ajaccio. It was a stunning sail in. We had a helicopter along side, presumably taking photos for a brochure or a video perhaps. Im sure we have always been at tender here, but looks like they have built a new berth because we docked.

Starboard side to, too. The church bells were ringing, we are overlooking the harbour and it is just stunning. And I can see the market is open today so Mum will be happy. Napoleon and his men came down to the quayside to great us. They did a little parade and a changing of the guard. Only trouble was they decided to put two of Napoleons guards on the main gangway, and do a changing of the guard every few minutes.

They looked very impressive but were causing a bit of chaos by the main gangway with everyone wanting photos with them as they came down the gangway. They drummed on their drums and marched about for a bit before retreating back through the port gates. It was packed, the alleys were too tight and it was all on raised pavements with kerbs to negotiate all the time. Not easy with a wheelchair. I walked all the way back across the square and tried to cut down to the beach along a side street but the pavements were just ridiculous.

Very uneven, and the stupid French had parked their mopeds on the pavements! So instead I walked along the road and held up all the traffic.

Lots of inviting little cafes and bars in the harbour, but no Mr C to share the experience with so straight back to the ship. Poor lad was horrified! So I felt obliged to retreat to Breakers Bar for a cooling drink. Had a bit of trouble obtaining my Moscow Mule today. Showed him the bill to prove it, and then barman and barsteward set too to find it for me. Its on page 2 under E if any of the seniors in the bar department would like to put that right for future reference!

Lunchtime was approaching and Mum has agreed at last to return to Glass House. No point arguing with her about it because I wont convince her otherwise. Anyway, we made it to Glass House and it was total tranquillity.

So cool in there, totally empty and we were the only people along with about 7 bar staff. We had a nice table by the window with big comfy chairs that made me want to curl up and just go to sleep. I ordered myself a bottle of Blind River, not with the intention of drinking it all, but it means I can take it back to my cabin and drink at my leisure. Mum had catch of the day and I had 3 dishes.

Oh my goodness, just the tempura prawns would have been enough for me. I also had the ham risllette and the salmon fishcakes. Even went beserk at the end and had the morello cherry desert to share! Mum soon squirreled the cherries of the top, so it was left to me to dive down for the cherries at the bottom. Lunch had left us both stuffed. Straight back to the cabin and mum was soon under the duvet. I retreated to the balcony and before I knew it my eyes were closed and I was fast asleep.

I spent the afternoon laying on the bed and on the balcony. Most strenuous thing I did was fetch a glass of cola from Breakers. We had a little browse of the shops this evening, then a formal photo at the top of the atrium, then it was pre drinner drinks time in Blue Bar.

Linda and Chris were not far behind us and then Debbie and the boys arrived. We went down to dinner at 8. I was pretty dam sure that they did, but opted for the safe bet of sauvignon blanc instead. Wine menu never arrived. So I had to call her again. Oh look Pinot Gris, large glass please!! First time I have experienced that, but like I have said before they no longer employ dedicated wine waiters and instead just rotate the bar staff to wait in the restaurants.

I had chosen Maple glazed chicken for my main, but when it came it looked like a grey poached piece of chicken. Not appetising at all. I took one of the French fries, stone cold.

The chicken — even colder. All of the food had been really good up until this point. I checked mums duck and that was ok. Eventually the waiter appeared to check if all was well with everyones meals, but I had to inform him mine was far from ok.

No rush was made to get me a replacement, and my dish went back with the waiter when he went to fetch another tables order. Of course everyone at our table had long finished their meal, so for me the moment of wanting to eat had passed. Oh dear, just one of those nights I guess. Best part of tonights meal for me was the absolute stunning sunset outside the window. Oh dear, we had a laugh in there tonight. I have no idea what was going on, it really was all a bit random, but it was very funny and me and Mary laughed and laughed!

Alan put in an appearance, and Debbie came up to see what a night out in Planet was like, so all in all a good time was had by all. The drinks were flowing, nothing unusual there. It was a late one and I had to creep into the cabin in the dark. Its not easy to be quiet when you are still giggling.

We are just gliding along and hardly breaking the sea this morning. Its like glass, with barely a ripple as we pass through it. There is some land to the starboard side, but I have no idea what it is. The bridge have just announced a pod of dolphins down the port side, so all is good for a Sunday. Pursers department have just made a very stern warning about the reservation of sunbeds and the Horizon daily paper also had a big piece in it stating that anyone who goes out early, for the purpose of reserving sunbeds, will have their belongings removed.

There will also be regular 15 minute checks throughout the day and belongings removed. I have just walked through decks 16 and 15, and there were pairs of officers all along both decks watching for the reservation of sunbeds. Its also very clearly stated on the big screen. Breakfast is not going well this morning. Of course it was cold by the time I got it back to the room, so that has not gone down to well.

I have had to call room service to come and save the day, but mum is having trouble comprehending why its taking him more than two minutes. Room service breakfast was a total disaster this morning. The tea was a pot of warm coffee. The Danish pastrys were two bread rolls and the toast was cold and crunchy. It did take a long long time to arrive too. I ended up with a refreshing glass of Pimms by Breakers this morning.

Thats a cool way to start a Sunday on a cruise ship lol. I soon spotted two sunloungers becoming available and we settled down on there for a while to soak up the rays. After the disastrous breakfast I fetched mum a nice early lunch of cold meats and salad. She was ready for her bed after that. I had planned a nice chilled out day on the balcony with my bottle of wine, but the sun decided it was going to spend the morning directly above the ship and then took the lean towards the port side.

I went back on deck for an hour, had some goujons and fries, but the fun in the sun by the pool was a little too much for me today. I needed peace and quiet so eventually retreated to the cabin. I walked through the buffet and the smell of chocolate from the chocoholics buffet was to sickly for me. It is nowhere near as impressive in the buffet dining venues as it used to be set up in the main restaurants.

Gallley walk though too today, but not sure how popular it was. Linda was having a quiet 5 mins down by the Terrace Pool so I joined her for a cocktail and lots of girly chat. Meanwhile, back at the cabin. Mum was cold and the heat hit me as soon as I walked through the door.

Doors shut, heating whacked up to the extreme. Oh dear soon got that sorted and went out on the balcony for some fresh air. Despite the sun lingering over the top of the ship, one corner of our balcony is now basking in sunshine, but its very very hot.

I cant win today. Hopefully the feeling was mutal ; Then I chatted to Blake the Media Manager who has actually been my new best friend this cruise. Blake and Ancy have just been absolute starts with helping me get my head around this trial of MB internet usage, and for me, both of them have gone the extra mile. I was happy to leave. Met up with Linda and Chris down in Blue Bar and Linda was in control of obtaining a bleeper tonight.

I had the exact same problem this evening with ordering a glass of wine that I did last night. Different wine waiter, because different section. At least he was willing to look for it! Lovely tomato soup this evening. On the way out the restaurant the restaurant manager stopped me to apologise about last nights meal and the way it was handled. I knew that it was unusual for the way it was handled at the time, so I was happy to learn that it had been noted and dealt with. Mum went off to bed and I had a couple of emails to send that flatly refused to send earlier.

Always a bit paranoid about messing with my internet after a few drinkies, but I double treble checked I had logged off and headed for Planet Bar. Oh we had a fab evening this evening. We laughed all night long. Neil and Matt came up for a drink, because Neil had heard about our legendary nights at the bar. For once we entertained the entertainment team. Apparently poor Matt had a bit of a blonde moment earlier and really thought we were going to Vigo.

Poor Matt he took some stick for that. And treble the amount of laughing that we usually do. I even did a bit of dancing to Lady GaGa of all things! The night ended when we were the only ones left and the bar staff retreated to the corner for a lie down with their paperwork.

We had kept them busy this evening. I wonder what we look like from the other side of the bar, lol. I always insist on taking the scenic route to bed, via deck 7.

I was escorted by Alan. Bumped into Christian and some teens outside Manhattan who were very surprised to see us. Must have wondered what oldies were doing up at this time, lol.

By the time I reached the cabin I realised I had a bit of Cinderella moment and had lost the tip off my heel of my shoe. Thankfully I spotted it further down the corridor. Im no sooner through the door and Mum wants to inform me that a its late, and b the clocks have gone forward! Easy for me to say, but you try explaining that one to a confused 89 year old who is having non of it!

She also insisted on lecturing me about the lateness of the hour and wanting to know who, what, where and why I had been out until this hour! I had no comprehension of what time it was by now. I found taking the key card out of the energy slot by the door, and plunging the cabin into darkenss, put and end to mums whitterings and lectures because she had no idea where I was!

Not so sure I did either!! No, I really am. Up, washed, dressed and into Breakfast in Peninsular before 8. Gibraltar big cloud of mist and drizzle is hovering over the rock of Gibraltar and the rest of the weather looks non too promising. I walked into town and back pushing the wheelchair. There are one or two new supermarkets opened up in the new units on the way into town. Every year when we come here there is a little bit more to the development of the walk into town.

We dodged a couple of showers this morning, but the by the time I got back to the balcony there was just a glint of sunshine. I fetched a wrap and a burger from Frankies Grill and enjoyed my lunch in the sun on the balcony with a glass of wine.

Sailaway was at 1. So we sat and had a singsong together while Neil and the team exerted all their energy on the stage. I know I will get the blame for leading her astray later on. I had to go in search of some glue to fix my shoe from last night. The Emporium obliged with that. Bumped into Debbie and we went for a coffee and a Natter in Java.

No escaping it, my bed is calling me. So I had a meeting with my duvet. The sea had a bit of a bobble on this evening and getting ready was a bit of a struggle. Had a bit of a wander looking at photos and then managed to get a seat in Blue bar for pre dinner drinks. That bar is getting busier and busier. Lovely dinner in Meridian this evening. I had the Tandorri chicken, which was perhaps a little spicy for me, but very nice non the less. Negotiated a really nice Bin End this evening.

I actually got one of the more experienced wine waiters for a change. My usual spot in Planet Bar and it was buzzing up there again. Mohito man, Agi, was mixing me some very acceptable flavours of mojhito this evening. One of the bartenders went the extra mile and went to another bar to get me a glass of Peller Canadian Fizz. I also enjoyed a little Samba thats a dance not a drink , not easy in high heels!

I had to take the blame for leading Mary astray too earlier at the deck party. Im always in the frame for something! Alan put in a bit of a guest appearance too. I have no idea what time it was when I left but I know that I was the last out of there. Battle of the clocks resumed when I got back to the cabin again.

You might not believe this but mum woke me at some unearthly hour to ask if the clocks were back, forward or on their head! Fed up of time now!!!

I caved in eventually and obliged with a half cup of tea. Anyone would think it was mum that had been out sampling the delights of the bars until the early hours. Made it to breakfast in Peninsular and I opted for a cooked breakfast for once.

I find it quieter than the crunch of the cereals. Lisbon is very over cast and we disembarked and were straight onto one of the wheelchair friendly buses. Meant I had to stand a wheelchair watch though. It drizzled as strolled around Lisbon, nothing too drastic but some sunshine would have been appreciated. Mum added to her hoard of treasure she has purchased this cruise and added a ring and bracelet to the cache of 4 handbags, 2 rings, pair of shoes and a necklace!

I was happy with my box of 6 warm custard tarts. The sun is coming out just as we arrive on the dockside. Quick change and upto Breakers bar for me. Mum needs a lie down, again! Collected mum at lunch time and we had a nice lemon chicken baguette in the sun. Sat for a while longer but it was getting too hot for mum, so we retreated to the balcony.

I went for a wander around Prom and up to the bow on deck 8, before retreating to the balcony and catching a few more rays, because I have no idea how many are left?! Obviously I have attended a few in my time but this one seemed to have the entire ship in attendance. It was buzzing, the sun was beating down and Neil and his team were full of energy. Oh please Neil can I have a little bit of it. It was possibly one of the longest sailaway partys too.

First we had to wait for a latecomer back to the ship always one! Anyone on that bridge must have thought we were totally bonkers, waiving our flags and cheering loudly. Hope it made them smile.

The party just kept going, Pimms seemed to be coming at me from all directions and it was taking some keeping up with. Neil and his team finished with a walk through of the decks, lots of kisses and hand shakes and then back on stage for Azura theme tune and the elbow dance. Hats off to Neil and his team they are the very best at sea! Meanwhile, back at the cabin I have 50 minutes to do a turnaround and get showered , dressed and out.

Pre dinner drinks in Planet this evening for a change, and I was going to be so good and have a cola, but somehow I heard myself asking for a Margeritta with salt rim! We were eating in Trattoria this evening so at 7.

Maximum is a 6, and we cant even have that one and squash because someone is already earmarked for it. Im told the best they can do is a table for 4, plus a table for 3, but wont guarantee they will be together or at the same time.

I was given a laminated piece of paper with a number on it and told to come back at 8. Im not impressed, a very hit and miss service. Is it me but would a bleeper system, like Meridian not be about 50 times more efficient? All way to hit and miss and he could tell I was not best pleased.

We were invited to sit in the Cafe next door and wait. Not very pleasant as it was being cleaned at the time. Eventually we were seated, on a squashed table for 5, plus a table for 2!

But it could have been a one off and I need to try again at some point. After mum had gone to bed I headed for my usual spot in Planet. But who are all these strangers? I just wing everything and hope for the best.

It works for me. One of them was a bit shocked when I asked for a glass of cola at one point, I think he had to go for a lie down after that. We were relatively early leaving, well early for us of late anyway. I went via deck 7 to check on the boys and girls and to see what they were upto. There has been a bit of trouble at mill, but I have to say that all of the teens that I have experienced have been a polite and very pleasant young adults.

I managed to get into bed, in complete darkness and mum never stirred, not even for half a cup of tea, or to ask what time the clocks went back forward etc. Last night I was asked what my perfect day would be. I responded with, sun on the balcony all morning so I could chill without any effort and then an afternoon in bed, followed my an evening of partying.

Out of bed and into breakfast before 9 this morning — how do I do that? Cabin steward advised me enroute to keep my shades on. Apparently red slits for eyes is not a good look for a lady. Thought it rude to eat in my shades so they were removed and I hope nobody noticed.

Bun fight, summer sale, in Meridian this morning. Not my idea of fun at all, but a certain octogenarian likes a bargain so I had to oblige. Bumped into Linda and Chris on the way out, and linda just laughed at me, so I threw the shades back on. Chris had to take a double look. The sun was beating on the balcony. I considered a glass of cold wine, but opted instead for a custard tart and half a cup of tea! I had some form filling to do, some cruise nominations to complete, errands to run etc.

By the time I had done all that, the cloud cover had come and the sun was gone. Decided I would partake in a little bit of packing, just incase the sun puts in a full days appearance tomorrow. Mum spotted the FitFlops on the way out of lunch and really fancies a pair. I had a woman in fits of laugher when I pointed out to mum that a pair of Fit Flops were a bit pointless to her.

Christian was causing chaos at the jewellery stall, making his purchase. Im not so sure that the contribution from his two new aunties was helping. Back to the cabin and one glance at the duvet and I was in. Pre dinner drinks in the Planet Bar again this evening and tonight we were joined by Simon and his boys, who were due to dine with Debbie, Kieran and Christian but may not have realised at the time that we came as a package lol.

I was worried that a table of 10 would be difficult to obtain on the last formal nite, so poor Kieran got the job of runner for a pager. He soon returned to inform us that a table was ready and we could go now. Bit of confusion with drinks still arriving, and it would have been nice to just sit and chill for a while. Debbie Simon and the boys went ahead, while we waited for drinks, got mum back in the wheelchair, and got the lift to deck 7, walked across and then back down to deck 5.

Not an easy task on a busy night I can tell you! She knew exactly who we were, exactly who we were joining and exactly where they were sat. Oh dear, we must have made an impression over the last 12 nights. Only 89 yr olds are excused any etiquette! Simon made the mistake of telling me he worked for Virgin Media, oh deary me did I go off on one well he did ask we had received the most appalling customer service from Virgin Media since our house move, and he did ask for my comment, so he got them!

Christian tried to prepare the other lads at the table for the fact that all after dinner chocolates go to Mum. They were not impressed, and indeed refused to belive that it could be so. I showed them mums empty black evening bag, prepped and ready for a new delivery of after dinner delicacys. Fully lined with clean tissues. Sure enough two plates of handmade chocolate truffles arrived.

Mums daggers were in her eyes. The plate infront of her was hers! The plate at the other end of the table was offered up by Christian, and they glided effortlessly into Mums black beaded evening bag. Mums mission was complete and it was signalled that she wished to leave the table! Earlier on this evening I had called by reception and swapped my disembarkation passes for the early ones.

Just after I left the cabin, after putting mum to bed, I realised the passes were still in my evening bag and preventing them from shutting properly. So, I decided to remove said passes from my evening bag and slip them back under my cabin door, to save disturbing mum again.

Only trouble was I had walked a few yards down the corridor, so the cabin door I slipped them under was not my own! What a totally stupid thing to do. I hope the occupants appreciated the benefit of the early embark passes, durr! Back to reception to explain myself. We got there eventually and the receptionist obliged with another two early passes. My stool in Planet Bar was waiting for me. My Cosmo was perfect.

The company was first class and all was well with the world. Why oh why did we get the ents officer, on the last big night, that was the least interested in playing a few tunes for us. Clearly the adult disco is an after thought. The teens get the DJ, adults get an ents officer with a laptop. The last couple of nights had been jumping, and clearly there was a lot in planet bar this evening up for a good boogie. But the room was oon half cleared.

DJ informed me that the volume could not be increased. Alan was highly amused by the glares we got each time we approached the dance floor.

It was a late one tonight. A very late one. I needed my quiet moment in the wing. On reflection I probably needed a coffee, but a visit to the cafe was not on the cards.

Back at the cabin, I needed to see the stars but at 4. Disaster, the fog had taken the stars away. I was so upset about that and sat and cried: I actually thought I had beaten them tonight and they had all gone to bed.

But no, Christian and Co were spotted and even at that time of the morning Christian was a perfect young gentlemen and hugged away my tears. They were actually trying to teach the young lad, who had earlier been receiving etiquette lessons from me at the dinner table, how to hug. So Aubtie Jane was tasked with the mission.

I confess he was not an easy subject. More like a bent banana, who seemed to think that toes and shoulders touching constituted a hug. He seemed horrified that a bit of chest, with a hint of thigh should be included. We were getting there so I left him to practice on someone a little closer to his own age.

The sun is out and the sea is calm so all is well, but not in Janes world: I need some sleep. I need some food. But a cocktail of tablets and water were the only things I could face. There was hardly a sole on deck 15 by 9. Mmm, I wonder which. Maybe they were just being sensible and having a lie in? Oh a lie in, I wonder what one of those is?

I managed all of two hours in bed last nite. Mum has got it sussed. Sleeps all afternoon, wakes for dinner, and back in bed by I did the majority of mums packing yesterday, but today I have my two cases to unpack.

How does this make you feel? I see a bridge and lilypads. Private space of a gardener. I could be the gardener, foreground too verdant for words. Being a woman is not easy. All that lushness, ripening. Did a woman paint that?

I ask the doctor, my voice weedy. Mother looks at me, sets her purse on the floor, her eyes the same brown as mine like dark chocolate like urgency. In the early days, she hauled a mattress to the ocean view windows to sit and cry. Who can know the origin. I recall only her sorrow, not its source. In time, she adapted to a northern life, to its rhythms of sea, storm and gale. Her yard bonfired summer flame. Her smooth hands packed soil around roots of annuals in hanging moss baskets: Her long bangs caught, swept.

She paused to swipe. Flourishing fruit trees, berries, abundant bloom, this shore I call home. Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing, high school English-teaching Alaskan. When not exploring the summer lands and dark winter of the Yukon Territory, she lives in Sitka, Alaska with her husband and photographer, Bruce Christianson, and daughter Rie. The spot on her forehead was too off-center to be the jewel of a bindi on the brow of an Indian bride.

The spot was rough and red, irregular and raised. It would not heal. Once, at the post office a man startled and pointed. She saw herself in the glass over the portrait of the Postmaster General. There was a bead of blood large like a ruby over her right eye.

Amarjeet took a small knife to the spot and sliced off thin layers for the lab. Her skin, under a scope at x magnification, was a fractured net of cells that were splitting, dividing fast. The thing had a name.

It was no longer the spot. It was squamous cell carcinoma in situ. And so that Stage I did not become Stage II there was chemotherapy cream for bedtime and sunblock for the day and hats and long sleeves in the garden.

There will be a small scar, said Dr. It is as though you have been anointed with a third eye chakra. He cupped her face in his dry hands. Wear it as a sign of what has been learned, he said. A sign of your new-found openness to the idea of death. She had distinguished careers in television journalism, city government, and school public relations. I tell her it is either you or me. The hand that rocks it looks different to mine—how soft our pillows were, and how warm and sanitized by the sun—I am leaving this country for good, the hulk will rock me, even when I am sick— I will hold my stomach close to me like I do with my photo of my child.

These arms are not as buoyant as papyrus stalks. There are things in my mind I could never talk to you about. She flatters my body. This space folds its arms because it is adamant I am not empty enough.

The mouths of the sea and the sky are streaming their winds through me like a great god. She is excited about the process of self-actualization, research in psychoanalysis, philosophy, and cosmogony. Anna, 24, tells hard, neat: Priscilla Atkins is addicted to classrooms and the people in them. In past lives, she taught in Los Angeles and Honolulu. More recently she teaches and learns in Holland, Michigan.

Here they are now on the bed with me. Ankle with Ace bandage, but they itch, they want out. They have been many places on their own, feeling hot black tarmac and damp sand, soft mud, hard pebbles, that yellowjacket, ow! They whisper to each other.

Wasps in the orange tile do not bother me although I hear them. Or I am in Holland walking the mud flats, but without my feet. Home is where your feet are. But your heart, your head, your hands? Their strong bronze toes in hand-stitched sandals. Most recent poetry collection: She also has co-authored textbooks and written a book on Wallace Stevens Wallace Stevens: The Celestial Possible , Twayne, Also, his work has appeared in three anthologies: Everyone says to move forward you need to point yourself toward where you want to go.

But people forget the kernel inside that guides us to turn away from the straight line, to hold a mirror up because to look directly ahead would turn us to stone. Emily Dickinson knew she had to tell the truth slant to tell all of it. This is not about being afraid to die, or living with having been sick.

This is about recognizing the brilliance of looking away when a god reveals its true form. It is about wandering a beach while afternoon violets to evening, looking for horseshoe crabs and following the sandpipers.

And also about planting bulbs in concentric circles, so when they bloom, they bloom spectacularly. Jessica Moser was born and raised in New York City. She lives in New York with her family. Jackie Langetieg has published two chapbooks and two collections of poetry, had her work appear in various journals and for the past 25 years has been in all but one of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets yearly calendars. She is retired and lives with her son and two cats in Verona, WI.

His wound was not life threatening but chronic and afflicting it would dog him forever a condition untreatable by medicine or drugs. Home remedies helped, hearing specific songs snapshots from albums thoughts and memories but were as effective as cough syrup for lung cancer. The pain of his loss knew no sorrow it had no faith cared not about his race or age, gender or religion.

His healing showed no urgency was deaf to his prayers like a morphine drip it came gradual taking its own sweet time. He enjoys fishing, kayaking, biking and camping with his kids in the remote regions of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

They meant it as a lesson for not coming when called, sure she was hiding from them in the small woods, and drove away, up the gravelly side road, back onto the highway. She is the winner of the Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize.

We who have sullied the ocean return to its beaches clearing the waters for petrel skimming the surface of the open sea. Susan Twiggs writes poetry and picture books. Her degrees are in Social Work and Psychology. At one time or another she has been a psychotherapist for families and children, a conflict resolution consultant, and a yoga teacher and studio owner. She is grateful for her soul mate of over fifty years, John. Susan has a passion for travel, yoga, and all things natural. She enjoys directing plays drawn from picture books with her grandchildren.

A stranger and I walk toward the pink glow. Connecting, knowing glances; camera hope. The indentation — a thumb pressed on the sea. Slow-rising lava hump — arching boundary infusing the waiting gray — pink, purple, blue. Sandpipers advance and retreat. Fire beyond the water, beyond the thorny Fall, beyond all groans and grasping, calling to a gleam inside of us.

She lives in Sharpsburg, GA, with her husband, two almost-grown children, cat, and two dogs. Pulmonary Fibrosis, and I want to uproot it, transplant it, bury it. I kneel to pray. This is all I have. This is hope that the grave will remain distant — to slow the approach of its onward march. We dine together at Easter. I tell you how as a child I remember prayer meetings held. We will splash in seaside waters along the cape; we will drink white wine; we will dance in long.

Let us rejoice now and live in these tender times,. Diane Sahms-Guarnieri , a native Philadelphian, is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Reds and grays of foreseeable acquiescence. But the human body is resilient and restorative, A metaphor showing shoals and lagoons, The deep sea cave in the ribcage, islets, and The way it heals itself as model or design. Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. We hear it hit the window, the sound deep like a ball thrown against thick leather, a line drive caught in a mitt.

Surely the bird must be dead. It lies splayed on the snow, its brown wings limp, its beak tilted down. We wait, talk about how long before an injured bird freezes, before a hawk carries it off. We stand still, culprits, in our glass house. But soon the sparrow moves one wing, then the other, tucks both under its belly, tilts its head from side to side as if checking for a break, and finding none flies to the feeder, as if forgiving us.

She lives in Madison, WI. Hands resting in prayer pose, I feel my body dent the spongy surface of the blue yoga mat. I seek to settle the wild lake of my mind. My old border collie struggles to lie down on her therapeutic dog bed. Her front paws extend out as she executes a perfect downward dog pose. But the stiff old hip joints remain stubbornly raised until finally, gravity pulls her bottom end down to the mat. Getting up requires similar tenacity.

It is painful for me to watch Fancy perform her rituals each day as she paces between poses and seeks my warm hand for attention. Nesting in the thick jungle of periwinkle vines in the large luminescent green clay planter outside my front door, a sparrow sits on four milky eggs snug in a small nest she has knit from dry yard grasses. I peel back the leggy lemon gem marigold to spy on this gift.

Red and yellow pouch flowers and purple daisies help to keep our secret. Early each morning when the front door opens, momma bird flies up to the roof and watches her eggs intently until we pass to go out for a slow walk up the street.

Satisfied by our morning walk, we return home to a waning gibbous moon. My old collie pokes her nose over the threshold and stumbles into the house. She is clueless to the new life that incubates off her shoulder, helpless against her own spirit about to rise. I wonder when these nested eggs will hatch? Will these crossings intersect as night into day? In meditation, I usher that divine pause. She is currently working on a collection of new poems and essays about island life.

The back of my right knee — numb. A coffee table, puppy claws — I feel underneath the epidermis and twitch my leg away. My husband avoided it. My own body made me queasy. Over a year after surgery, I urged him to palm the patch when his hands caress my legs. This misplaced puzzle piece he covers — the scar and my fears disappear altogether. She is working on a larger poetic project about medicine and the body. Bands of rose ripple across the deep blue water As I lift my arms above the golden sun reflects off the droplets The gentle waves bathe my Spirit soothing her carrying away all the fatigue all the sorrows.

Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. She has also authored a dozen travel guidebooks, and pens travel articles and narratives. Caputo has done over literary readings, from Alaska to the Patagonia. For the past decade, she has been traveling through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. Follow her travels at: The patriarchy robbed you of your wild self.

Left a self-loathing, judging monster in your place. You pour your compassion into African Violets that shrink if you look at them wrong. Did you know your girls do too?

Whither on the vine? Die for your affection? You never overwatered either— the violets or your girls. Touch me gently like you touch those violets. Speak softly to me like I hear you speak to them. Water me— not too much, not too little. Give me a place of honor in your house too.

Let me feel the warmth of sunshine on my face, your loving hand holding me, pruning away what is dying so I can thrive too. Let me feel the love you pour into those violets. Let me thrive, grow, bloom— the greatest gift. The beautiful blossoming of a well-tended daughter. Called Necessity, it rose like Atlantis out of the ambiguous ocean of the twentieth century, a strand where big medicine met sisterhood and mythology.

Seeing head scarf and lymphedema sleeve, she recognized a sister and held me with the sweetness of shared suffering, heat and light pouring into me, an island under the sun. In , there were more than 2. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment. Sandra Lindow , Menomonie, Wisconsin, recently lost her husband of 34 years to a brief, very aggressive cancer. She misses his support and inspiration deeply and is working to turn her sadness and loss into various expressions of beauty.

Fortunately, she has many islands of loving connections in her life. Mother walking toward the dark water, hair loose down her back, auburn, amber, gray, wading in, deeper, deeper until only her hair fanned and floated on the polished black. The air was hot, her mouth was dry, no water in the house, she dressed and found the pail, the handle cool across her callused palm, the light strengthened as she walked, bird song raining through her, a yellow warble squeezed from brown, a trill of garnet rising to ruby, crow caws, star shards, bursting white, white when flint sparks steel.

At the spring she dipped and filled her pail, her dampened skirt hem, the eddy of milky bubbles, the fog just off the beach, fading, clear. She lugged it down to watch the back-lit breakers lift to cresting curves, hold and hold, over-top, then break, cataracts of emerald slurred with leaf-bud green, frothing into white cumulus, nimbus gray, foam enswirling ankles as she turns and turns, the pail sloshing over, in the draining wake. He is a retired elementary educator who taught in Oregon and overseas.

He is the author of, A Glossary of Memory , an imagined memoir in 26 poems. He has been a programmer and producer at the local community radio station, an actor in community theater productions, and co-host of a monthly poetry open mic. To be allowed to heal. Later, the smell of sacred wood will have woven its way into your clothing, hair, will leave itself in the centre of your pillow. How it filled you, washed out even your darkest, wounded places. Bring me your sorrow, your sleeplessness.

Scatter them among my shadows. Bring me your loss, your loneliness. Bury them under my dust. Bring me your failures, your mistakes. Leave them in the center of my crescent. Bring me guilt and shame. Place them forever on my dark side. Bring me the times you felt unseen. Offer them to my great white Eye. Search for it again in moonlight.

Bring me wounds and scars. Lay them deep in my craters. Bring me everything you wish to heal. I will give you the elixir of dreams. Her chapbook, Believing the Body , from Gribble Press was published in Clarkson has Masters Degrees in English and Library Science, has taught and worked as a professional librarian. After caring for her mother through a long illness, she re-careered as a RN specializing in Home Health and Hospice Care.

She lives with her husband in Olympia, Washington. We met when I was seventeen, The party was aglitter and I felt like a waif until I discovered him.

So we kept company whenever I was out; lazy afternoons, at dinner and even lunch. My constant companion in college I began to take him to my room. We celebrated birthdays, graduation and a wedding. If I was sad he was my comfort. Angry, I could rail and he would understand. Disappointment faded and I would sleep. Unreliable, I never knew when we would rejoice in some small discovery or treasure and when we would rage.

Her short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous small magazines and anthologies. The doctor I tried to forget. In memory of my beloved sister. She was in her late 20s, just like my sister. Young and competent, for over a month, she tried her best to save my sister, but in the end, the troll won. And so it did.

The year-old me, stubbornly upset with God, was upset with his people too. Though appreciative of all her efforts, I wanted to remove that doctor from my memory. So I tried to forget her and failed. Life is the biggest troll there is. My mother and her colleague had shared staff rooms and meals for several years. That day on the phone when my mother finally broke this news to me, after several years of willfully ignoring the doctor, I caught myself asking the only thing I could: Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet and activist of Indian origin, currently based in Macao.

Her poems have also won or placed well in the IBPC:

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