Green Line
Alison Hicks
My son drinks lavender soda,
holds out a plate with a chocolate croissant
with the chocolate scooped out.

Outside, a man dances in the street.
Inside, a man reads.

The crackhead taps on the glass.

It's the anniversary of my father's death.
In the Italian folk tale, death is trapped in the tree,
scarfing down cherries, juice running down his chin. 

Four men, now three, I love above all others.
I look around, think I could love every man here.

Death in the tree, can't get enough of those cherries.

A woman greets me by name. I have no idea who she is.
She's older than when I last saw her. 
Mara, she says.

A Mara interviewed me once. Illusion.
I liked her but she didn't hire me.

I pour myself a glass of champagne,
bottle heavy in my hand.

What we have to live with.
Death in the tree. 

My husband and son play poker.
Nickel ante. Raise or call. 
Alison Hicks's books include poetry collections Kiss and Falling Dreams, a novella, Love: A Story of Images, and an anthology, Prompted. Awards include the 2011 Philadelphia City Paper Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her work has appeared in Blood Lotus, Caliban, Eclipse, Fifth Wednesday, Gargoyle, The Hollins Critic, The Louisville Review, Pearl, Permafrost, Quiddity, and Whiskey Island, among other journals. She leads community-based writing workshops under the name Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio (

more by Alison Hicks:
The Mother as Persephone
The Daughter's Origami