My Mother-in-Law Cooks

Rachel Marsom-Richmond

Photo Credit: Melissa Wiese

and she checks her eggs one at a time. She cracks
one into a small bowl before dumping
the yolk into a larger bowl filled with flour.

She tells me about the time she tried
to make her husband a red velvet Valentine’s
cake from scratch. The recipe needed
six smooth eggs.

Only the last one was filled with blood,
and her floury hands were helpless. Bright red
yolk spilled into the bowl.

Cake, batter, five other eggs all ruined,
she had nothing left to serve. Only blood.

She confesses, voice lowering to a whisper,
that she baked it anyway, and she couldn’t help
but smile at her husband as he relished bite after bite.

Now she checks her eggs one at a time,
and I do the same when I scramble up breakfast
or bake her son birthday brownies. I watch,

hypnotized as my fingers crack egg after egg, searching
for dark spots, large lumps, even the tiniest vein
deep within the yolk.


Rachel Marsom-Richmond graduated with her M.A. from Northern Arizona University in May of 2009, and she graduated with her M.F.A. from Georgia College & State University in May of 2011. She teaches composition, makes sock monkeys, and dreams of moving back to the mountains of North Carolina. For more information on poetry publications, please visit: Email: rachelmarsom[at]

Cigarette Smoke Clouds

Andrea Castillo

car window
Photo Credit: Molly/moominmolly

Outside his mother’s house, Luna trees hang over my car
like owl wings in flight. He tells me he can control
his dreams. In the front seat, our arm hair

mingling. We smoke Marlboros. He says Try it sometime,
baby. I tell him about the time I gave a girl an orgasm
with my painted pink toenails and the smell, blood

in the sun, got me high. Are you a lesbian now? Maybe
I am and it’s probably because you make me bend over
in high red heels that cradle my feet like a bear

trap. You spank your stomach, pursing your chapped lips
in the shape of an O. No I’m not a lesbian but I wish
you would brush your teeth before kissing me. His mother

scowls at my broken Volkswagen through the front window
between the Lunas. I spread my hairy legs, hang them
outside the open window. Drag on my cigarette—ash floats.


Andrea Castillo is a Creative Writing and English and American Literature undergrad at University of Texas at El Paso. She spends most of her time reading and writing. Some of her favorite contemporary authors and poets include Mary Gaitskill, Bret Easton Ellis, and Sharon Olds. Email: alcastillo2[at]