Issue 02: “Simple Gifts” (Winter 2012)


Welcome to The Big Windows Review, Issue 2, “Simple Gifts.” I’d like to thank the contributors to this issue and this issue’s editorial board (Simon Mermelstein, who read and scored the blind–i.e., names removed–submissions). —TZ

All contents  © 2012 Washtenaw Community College and the individual authors or artists.

The works herein have been chosen for their literary and artistic merit and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Washtenaw Community College, its Board of Trustees, its administration, or its faculty, staff, or students.


Brigid Lennon | Simple Gifts Collage!
Diane M. Laboda | Invitation
Barbaranne Branca | A Morning
Hector Espinoza |  El Lago
Susan M. Cooper | Breathe
Ralph Kennedy | Funky Boxes
Simon Mermelstein | So much to do . . .
Jessica Jackson | Examine the Apparatus
Mallory Wayt | Rainy Day Woman
Mallory Wayt | Wife and Mother
Mohammed Alkafah | To my wife
Ralph Kennedy | Funky Boxes–The Sequel
Geneva Smith | Remains
Ralph Kennedy | With a Little Help
Keasha LeClear-Morse | The Day the Operator Missed Her Call
Sheldon Ferguson | The Gift of Love



Simple Gifts Collage!




The night comes creeping
along the fence row
asking nothing of the silence
except that it linger
and stretch like a cat
upon the shady moss.

Bullfrogs echo invitations
and passionate poems
to mates masked in reedy
hiding places, hoping for
debutante dates among
the floating lilies.

Deer rustle through corn stubble
gleaning the best of the ears
before settling down
in nests of tall, seedy grasses
folding lanky legs
around tender fawns.

Fog paginates the air
making chapters of every gully,
collecting itself in covens,
slicking down the grass
along the stony brook,
making meadows cry.

Moonlight makes the oleander
glow with an aura of
hovering spirits long passed,
swaying slightly
in dewy grace,
aflutter with secret fantasies.



A Morning

rain puddles in random wood planks on the deck
sound of tires on wet roads
breeze through the rooms
cat sleeping in a long arc on the carpet
birds calling calling

gentlest of calm descends through my body
as though angels had entered my skin
such tranquility
oh to be graced with these moments



El Lago




To unleash yourself upon the world
To uncomplicate the complicated
To start a fresh
Eyes opened wide
To breathe, inhale exhale

Dive into memories
Things we have been taught
Lessons learned
Discover our minds
No longer in a box
Our destiny awaits us
To breathe, inhale exhale

In life we rise and fall
As we struggle to breathe
Unable to stay down we rise
With the hope of a new beginning
To regain what is lost
We breathe, inhale exhale

With no rhyme or reason
It is the end of a season
No longer able to breathe
Air escapes us
We will no longer inhale or exhale
On this side



Funky Boxes

(photograph by tom zimmerman)



So much to do . . .

I’m writing haiku
when I should be doing my
calculus homework

I’m so busy and lazy that
nothing of intermediate significance
will get done in the immediate future

I’m left with two piles:

The Things That I Must Do
which weigh heavy on my mind and crumbling shoulders

and the wonderful frivolities I can’t live without

naps, netflix, earl gray (cream and sugar, please), hackey sack, fiction, chinese food, non-fiction, picking flowers, music, looking at the moon, listening to the rain, thinking about the future, thinking about the past, wikipedia, social media, social life, alcohol, sexual frustration, masturbation, naps

I wonder how anything will get done?



Examine the Apparatus

-For the one who taught me such-

Death-knell for an existence long lifeless
Stay only a cautionary tale
That the bitter-sweet lesson offered
Becomes only the reminder of a left over reflexive mechanism

Heavy heart promising
The acceptance of knowledge
May one day fully transform to wisdom
If accountability is integrated

I long to live in a world
Where bad faith is no longer perpetuated
within nostalgic memory
and my self-sufficiency is without question

Perhaps this ache will flourish into comfort
Existing in Asprushya a fitting resolution
To be cleansed only by my own absolution
Actions contain context and consequences

Melancholic yet hopeful reminder
that full autonomy is lingering
just past the lesson
“Exist outside solipsism.”



Rainy Day Woman



Wife and Mother

Marble carved of purest grey,
Tell me, what am I today?
Can I hope the tear away?
Can I ask the smile to stay?

Lady humbled troubled true,
How much can I take from you?
Gave as quickly as it grew:
Under sun is nothing new.

Shining shiverings of shade
Of the mud and rock are made.
Near the fire a hand is staid,
And forever, ever fade.

Oh, the marble, it will crack,
As the wife of Lot did lack,
Shed a tear as she looked back:
C’mon baby, stay on track.



To my wife

Parting from you
My eyes tear
My heart is torn
My ears cannot hear
Woe to me!
O daughter of Matar
Without your eyes
I cannot go far



Funky Boxes–The Sequel

(photograph by tom zimmerman)




We are here with the

memory of your life
wondering what we could have done better


We aren’t haunted by your death, but by your life

What remains of your life

love from family and friends.



With a Little Help



The Day the Operator Missed Her Call

The operator must have wondered why
the little girl hadn’t called that day.
Ordinarily, by eight a.m., the child had
dialed “0”, but this morning was different.
Just this once, the mother had invited her along.
The operator probably thought the gabby-girl
was sick or even dead. But the child wasn’t
sick and she wasn’t even dead. She was more
alive this day than she had ever been.

Today the mother had noticed her.

The girl watched as the woman tightened
her naked lips around the tube of bright
red lipstick, flattening it on either side.
She didn’t cry when the mother pulled
her neglected hair into a ponytail.
Her eyes might have watered, but she
did not cry. The little girl was surprised
as she was ushered into the front seat
where her sisters usually rode,
but she dared not act excited.

The mysterious destination became
apparent as the flashing DONUTS sign
appeared in the car’s headlights.
Pleasant aromas overwhelmed her as the little
girl sat down directly across from the mother,
who ordered coffee (with two sugars)
and a large donut overflowing with red jelly.
The child’s mouth watered as the glazed donut
was placed on the table in front of her. It wasn’t
her favorite, but the little girl didn’t complain.
She was happy. The woman didn’t speak,
but the child grinned at her anyway. She was content
just watching the mother as she left outlines
of her painted lips on cigarettes and coffee cups.

This was a special day, a peculiar day,
a day the girl would commemorate forever.
She would wrap this memory in silk and file it
away in an extraordinary place labeled,
“The Day the Mother Acknowledged
the Little Girl and Brushed her Hair and
Fed her a Donut.” Or perhaps merely,
”The Day the Operator Missed Her Call.”



The Gift of Love

Is chocolate to the soul
Redemption to the heart
Sacrifice of ones self to give
Life or time to someone other than

The Godly fire that glows within your chest
Brightest without ego!
And if love was a golden ring
Courage would be the shimmering diamond on top

Is giving in its highest form
Is the greatest treasure one can have
Forgiving, humane, loyal, kind, helping, joyous,
And is above all unconditional.


1 thought on “Issue 02: “Simple Gifts” (Winter 2012)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s