Three Poems by Monica Sharp

These three poems by Monica Sharp affirm the plasticity and dynamism of memories. In the three a.m. musings, she mines subconscious truths and holds them up to half-light, spying new revelation and understandings that were impossible to grasp in the moment as action unfolded. Snippets, phrases, and brief cuts are edited and braided together, combined, and recombined. Our remembering of the past alters the past. With new vision, what was mundane becomes sublime — redemptive, even…

by: Monica Sharp

I Never Did Find Out

I never did find out
The pages of life indecipherable
In some years innocent in extremis
Dissolved in peals of laughter when
Confronted with the absurd
And tremendously unexpected

I never did find out 
That the world thrived on flesh for sale
Invisible pills and lines of coke in clubs
Or behind school in the parking lot
Covert ops after midnight between
Any number and combination 
Of nude forms
Or wombs filled then emptied

I never did find out
If my self-proclaimed bombshell 
Of a magnetic aunt
Coupled with my very-much-still-boyfriend
Just after Y2K in Cabo
Or if my best friend 
At fifteen took sloppy seconds 
From my lean clean ex

I never did find out
What they really said about me
Or what makes a black snake spiral
Chemistry, I guess
I said I didn’t care but
Wept for months

I never did find out
What all the fights were for
Weeks of stonewall silence
Later provisioned with
Attributed motives
Or why the plaster of the wall
Above my desk
Slowly wept dust and dry foam
Like a sparkless rocket

Middle school mornings carry their own whiff.
Deep bottom notes of tonka and aftershave
Middle notes of hairspray and cold leather
A flirty top note that quickly fades:
Tentative attractions.

Your locker is red with a dial lock.
It’s winter. Your nose is red.
The prairie wind is stiff.
With hard hands you fumble the code.
No matter.  

You remember that fifth-grader who wired his locker shut,
Swigging beer from a brown bottle between classes.
Where is Robert Werfel now, if anywhere?
Why didn’t they take the stale beer from him?
No matter.  

You pull out the stuffed bear, plush and soft,
Sweet as a hidden cloud it pops out,
Its size too generous for the space.
You have the Christmas card. It’s all ready.

Oh middle school mornings
Smell like spilt fuel on asphalt, 
Small crunches awakening. 
Everyone sleepy, half dreaming.

Your minute crush speeds down the corridor.
With no art whatsoever you shove the stuffed bear toward him.
Here. Take it. 
He blushes, startled. Turns and flees.

Months later, you actually are dating.
He confesses his sister gave the bear to her friend in Tennessee.
I wish I hadn’t given it away, he mumbles.
You eat pepperoni pizza and feel like an adult.
So, this is it.
A big deal.
Forfeited bear or no.

His words erase your shame.
No matter.  
We have pepperoni pizza,
The bear’s in Tennessee.
Art Carnies

Wind lifted off the lake.
I stood awkward in my new role,
Art carney. Art carney. 
Some of the art spoke to me.
Other art was silent. Atrocious.
Come over here! my husband said
Bring the drill,
The box of screws, 

Wind lifted off the lake. 
The early summer sun shone, weak.
Women clad in strange corduroy bags
Clasped round-bellied husbands 
Strolled up and down the aisles
Perused booths stuffed with colors and canvas. 
Great granite blocks hugged the shore.
I didn’t know what I was doing,
Who he was, why was I here?
I hurried and hustled as best I could.

Wind lifted off the lake. 
An older artist folded into a wheelchair - 
The brush his last redoubt.
Do you have a sense of place? 
He looked closely at me - curiously.
I didn’t, I didn’t have
A sense of place. I shivered.
Wind lifted off the lake.

Monica lives and writes in Florence, Italy. Her international spirit travels with an American passport. She moonlights as a legal researcher when not parenting, managing people and projects, or writing. Her writing has been published in The Florentine, Rome-ing: Firenze, Bosphorus Review of Books, Fevers of the Mind, Adamah, and Synapse. Find out more at

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