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Karma at the Charlie Hotel: Fiction by Louella Lester
Acceptable Margin of Inventory Loss: Fiction by Charlie Kondek
The Racing Rocks: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Preacher Woman of Reverie, Oklahoma: Fiction by Ann Marie Potter
Justice Served: Fiction by Glen Bush
A Broken String of Love Beads: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Revenge and Redemption: Fiction by Walt Trizna
Thirst: Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Solar Punks: Fiction by James Blakey
Rito Was a High Number: Fiction by Fred Andersen
The Parcel: Fiction by Robb White
Red Wine and Cyanide: Fiction by Adrian Fahy
The Crowd: Fiction by Jack Garrett
The Offal Truth: Fiction by Scott MacLeod
Madam Maree Sees Your Future: Flash Fiction by Jon Park
Wereworm: Flash Fiction by Daniel G Snethen
Promises: Flash fiction by Richard Brown
No Need to Cry: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
The Classy Woman: Flash Fiction by William Kitcher
oh how i wish: Poem by Rob Plath
Bird in Flight, Nullarbor Plain, 1967: Poem by John Doyle
Pools: Poem by Bernice Holtzman
I Exist Inside an Invisible Poem Everlasting & Overflowing: Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Let me drop the last chapter: Poem by Partha Sarkar
Excursion: The Cruise Ship Chronicles: Poem by Jake Sheff
We'll Always Have Two Things to Hold: Poem by Chandu Govind
why nothing else matters: Poem by John Sweet
the pale grey light of forgotten afternoons: Poem by John Sweet
Orchestra Class: Poem by Elizabeth Zelvin
The Old Lady Shows Her Mettle: Poem by Elizabeth Zelvin
Eggs Over Easy: Poem by Peter Mladinic
Pretty Face: Poem by Peter Mladinic
Another Saturday Night: Poem by Richard LeDue
My Death Knells: Poem by Richard LeDue
Poems as Cheap as Christmas Lights: Poem by Richard LeDue
Dead Work: Poem by John Grey
How He Died: Poem by John Grey
The Man in Their Midst: Poem by John Grey
First at Pimlico: Poem by Craig Kirchner
4 AM: Poem by Craig Kirchner
Leap Year: Poem by Craig Kirchner
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Strange Gardens
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Bernice Holtzman: Pools

Art by Bernice Holtzman 2024



by Bernice Holtzman


I’m floating in my best friend’s pool

The first day after school ended

Wearing a new bikini

My first one

“Look at you,” her mother said

The next three months stretched for miles

Into a hazy endless summer collage

Hot days of boys and crushes

Warm nights of grown-up parties

My first slow dance

And a second later, my first real kiss


At midnight we ran through the woods

Holding tree branches back for the ones behind us

Giggling as the obedient ones slept

We brazen bad girls

And jumped the fence to skinny dip in the camp pool

Amazed at the new sensations on my body

Drunk with the gulp I had just taken of life

And thinking this must be what everyone is talking about

Later, on the fire escape

My hair still damp

Breathing in the chlorine drying on my skin

We sat looking up at the night
My whole life a canvas to be sketched, painted, embellished, painted over
The possibilities as infinite and bright
As the glittering mural above us

I still find pools
They’ve always been there
Waiting to be discovered
Peeling clothes off, I run to them
And they welcome me
Reflecting the magic of every first time
As I stand poised on the edge
Breath held
About to dive in.



Bernice Holtzman 4/99


Bernice Holtzman is an author of poems, short fiction, autobiographical pieces, two (so far) children’s stories, and all manner of clever commentary. Her work has appeared in The National Poetry Magazine of the Lower East Side. That was 30 years ago, and she’s still talking about it.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2024