Tag Archives: SUNY Erie Community College

Jared Chase


In a din of whirl and thrum

and the chatter, bicker, natter,

whole families who are broke

and solitary suits

down on their luck just now

mill in this grainy brown carbuncle

with the chipped yellow sign—

sand white once, years ago,

when I had a teddy in one hand

and Mama’s finger in the other—

we, the salt of the earth in the grit

and the clean swill of Tide.

Kids take turns pushing the carts

and, bored, play pretend for hours

learning half by accident

how to count change, read a clock,

how to fold and wait and dream

while they push hot, wet laundry

to the wall of thundering dryers

and they push hot, dry laundry

to the tables for Mama to sort.

Back by the dumpster with a plastic bag:

two cans of no-brand soda sweat in the heat

bright packets of chips yellow the teeth,

three ten altogether from the wilting mart

up on the corner. We smoke Rez cigarettes

in shifts but, always, are drawn back in

and our veteran eyes keep glancing

at all but the clothes on our backs

churning in the Tide and the brine.

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Jared Chase is halfway through an associates degree at Erie Community College, writes too little and reads too much.

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Michele Lynn Pawlak

Anxiety in Motion

Her left hand flicks a cigarette that doesn’t

Need to be ashed. Her right hand clenches,

Fingers curling to her palm, and then,

She splays them all out again.

I’ve watched her for twenty-two minutes,

Counting the times she uncrosses her legs

And then crosses them again.

Sixteen times seems like too many.

In thirty minutes, I see her pattern:

Legs uncross, hand clenches shut,

Legs cross, hand opens wide.

I wonder if she times it?

Her trainwreck movements:

The jerks, the twitches, the constant motion.

I like the way her left hand never leaves her hair

When it isn’t flicking a cigarette.

Michele Lynn Pawlak is a second time SUNY student at Erie Community College, with a habit of writing, a penchant for coffee—good or bad—and a general appreciation of all things fictional.


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