Spring 2024


By Sharon Denmark

She was disguised
as a half-dead woman,
skin paled, no lipstick, IVs inserted,
a convincing costume. One October
we were hand-sewn clowns,
ruffled sleeves in yellow
and purple, noses red. She was disguised
as a mother. When she couldn’t speak for herself
I told anyone who would listen
her full name,
so she would become real again.


His heart sounded like a turn signal ticking
away a carefully charted course. The beetles
are back, scurrying across the kitchen
floor after dark, their hearts a series
of chambers nestled under the black curve
of their exoskeleton. Inside my
own unopened sternum my heart does
the best it can, though it startles easily.
If only I could shake a heart back to rhythm
like shaking static electricity
out of a shirt pulled warm from the dryer,
two quick snaps and everything’s settled.

Sharon Denmark is an artist and writer from the southern part of Virginia. Her written work has recently appeared in Marrow Magazine, Sho Poetry Journal, and Saranac Review. Her visual work can be seen at www.460arts.com and has recently appeared in 3Elements Review.
Spring 2024