an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century


Barbara Southard


I’m here to lift you out of the dark well

you find yourself in, people passing by

as if all is right with the world. The young,

with their audacious laughter, couples in love

holding hands in the park, neighbors

pulling out of their driveways for the ride to work.

You tell me you have become invisible, life

narrowed to a stream choked with weeds.

Once the hub of a many spoked wheel,

you now sit in a room disconnected from

all you knew, minutes stretching out

like an abandoned railroad track leading to nowhere.

I ask myself, where have all the families gone?

Generational houses where stories were passed

on, giving a sense of place to our lives, where

a child would not have to come home from school

to an empty house, neighbors who watch out

for each other, dropping over for a cup of coffee.

The world has grown ravenous for touch, amidst

the tumble tangle of wires snaking from room

to room, cacophony of TV, its dreary drone  drone

on from morning to night, casting a flickering

blue light. I am the Minister of Loneliness, appointed

by the government to cherish you, to hold your hand.

Barbara Southard was Suffolk County Poet Laureate 2019-2021. She is a visual artist, author of poems & short stories, board member of LIPC. Books published include Remember 2008, Time & Space 2020