an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

Winter 2023-2024

Vicki Iorio


Gladys’s garden was a prize winner,
she was a Master Gardener.
Our garden was just overgrown crab grass.
My mother was jealous, it was Gladys this, Gladys that, all day.

I pulled out Gladys’s roses, tore them up,
put them in our smelly garbage can. I scrubbed
the dirt from my hands, scrubbed like Lady Macbeth, although
at ten I didn’t know who Lady Macbeth was.
I scrubbed my fingernails with my big sister’s nail brush—out out damned spot.

I was found out.
Gladys, glamorous Gladys with her nose job and Paris perfume
sat like a queen in our gray kitchen with my mom in her dingy apron.
When I came in dirty from play, they squeezed out my confession,
I was punished but I don’t remember what the punishment was.

I never looked Gladys in the eye again.
Soon after this my mother took to her bed,
Gladys left her family and went to live
in an upstate town with a name I couldn’t pronounce.

Vicki Iorio is author of the poetry collections Poems from the Dirty Couch, Local Gems Press (‘13), Not Sorry, Alien Buddha Press (‘20) and the chapbooks Send Me a Letter, dancingirlpress (‘15) and Something Fishy, Finishing Line Press (‘18). Her poetry has appeared in numerous print and on-line journals. Vicki’s currently living in Florida but she is NY4EVAH