Poetry by Shirley Jones-Luke ∝ Art by Tony Citelli


When I found my wrist bleeding, I didn’t scream.

I watched the blood caress my skin as it eased from my veins.

A pool had already formed on the pillow where my hand laid.

the blood was the shape of a flower, petals spread greeting

the morning sun in my window. I felt no pain. It hadn’t

reached my inner self.  My brain was somewhere else.

with my other hand, I touched my wrist feeling the

blood latch on to my fingers spreading down to

my hand. Both covered in blood. A marvel. A mystery.

Why did this happen? My dreams were dormant.

But I had fought death in my slumber. The battle

was a blank but the blood was real. So real.

Perhaps the answer can be found by my bedside.

The knife on the floor. The note scrawled in haste.

The wish for death. As the sun shines life into

my eyes.


Roses in the Wasteland


Ma cried in the kitchen.  Her head was bent. Her body was stooped.

A roach crawled across her hand. She didn’t bother to swat it away.

Daddy had beaten her again. But the marks went beyond her skin.

The bruises went past her bones.  Her hurt was beyond physical.

Ma took the beating to protect us.  Protect us from the beast.

A brute who hated the beauty of her love. Her love for us.

Small and defenseless. My brother and I.

We had escaped to the backyard.

From there we heard the yelling, the swearing and the crying

We could do nothing.  My brother and I.  We wanted to fight.

But could not.  We didn’t know how.  You can’t hope when you.

feel helpless.  Then there was silence.  Daddy was gone.

Ma was alone, but she wasn’t.

We were in the yard sitting by the rose bush marveling at its

beauty.  Seeing the power in its thorns.

Wishing we had thorns of our own


The writing must be done

Until the moon kisses the sun



Heart versus heart, a

Tug of war, my eyes are brown

Not green, love is gone



See more art from Tony Citelli at


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