James Cihlar


Claiming a city. Collecting signs.
I am back to say goodbye.


Associated Thrift:
Yesterday's Best.

"Jan"-tiques. Owner Jan Gardner.
A trip to the past with a touch of class.

Blood pressure 126 over 90.
72nd and Dodge. Heritage Village.

New Lady Fitness. Suburban Bridals.
From Here to Maternity.

NW Radial Hwy in Benson.
Omaha Lace Laundry. A fashion cleaner.

Musette Bar. Grampy's Odds & Ends.
All proceeds go to Uta Hallee Home for Girls.

Tip Top Thrift Shop.
Jim's Seek & Save.

Enter Through Alley. Buy an antique
that evokes a favorite memory

of a special person in your life
or a happy occasion from your childhood.

My mother sat on the gossip bench
talking to Aunt Honey on the rotary dial.

I walked past,
rubbing sleep out of my eye.

Thinking I was sad, my mother
pulled me onto her lap to comfort me.

Because I didn't want her to stop,
I pretended to cry.

Animal Ark Shelter.
Return to Willoughby.

Please come browse,
I know you will find

that perfect memory
to take home.


A vacant bedroom

Former roommate
Who taught him

Everything he knows
In bed

AIDS test
A single rose

Note in my mailbox
Please move in

His own

My fear
Of being outed

Green Tupperware
Itemized bill


A poem about plums
My sister

And her husband
Graduate school

Mean streak
A broken glass

Willa Cather

Sun tanning
His grandfather's pajamas

Cooking lessons
Monte Carlo

Broyhill Fountain
Lee's Chicken

His birthday
My fists


    For Michael Radelich

In the gift shop of the museum
you dismissed yours.

"Self-doubt?  Don't have any."
Three years ago I drove

through the sand hills
to an interview

for a job I didn't want
and startled a trio of birds

from the barren asphalt.
They already knew more than I did--

the arc of their rising
the same as your hand lifting,

blue sun flooding my car--
you, caught between jobs,
me, starting a new one,
neither knowing what's next

When I was out of work,
I missed, even, complaining about my job--

then the stoplight changes
and I turn the wheel to the left.

Your hand makes it to my shoulder
and you say

"Don't worry. There'll be new things
to be bitter about."


The first time Beryl lied to me,
I told my boss.
She said,

To understand

The next times Beryl lied to me,
I told my boss.
She said,

To ignore

The last time Beryl lied to me,
I told my boss.
She said,

I agree

James Cihlar
James Cihlar's work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, The James White Review, Water~Stone Review, Bloom, Briar Cliff Review, and online at Sunspinner and Kaleidowhirl. He's won a Minnesota State Arts Board grant in Poetry and been a finalist for the Gertrude Press Chapbook Award and the Blue Light Press Book Award.  Cihlar has a first collection of poems titled Undoing, forthcoming from Little Pear Press in 2008. His work is included in the Little Pear Press anthology, Regrets Only (



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Contributors' Notes

E. Louise Beach

Anne Becker

Brad Bisio

Jane Blue

John Bush

Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Grace Cavalieri

Norma Chapman

James Cihlar

Ellen Aronofsky Cole

Ruth Z. Deming

Martin Dickinson

Moira Egan

Ronda Eller

Martin Galvin

Bernard Jankowski

Hiram Larew

Lenny Lianne

Michael H. Lythgoe

Judith McCombs

Susan Bucci Mockler

Miles David Moore

Kathi Morrison-Taylor

Bonnie Naradzay

Barbara J. Orton

Steven Pelcman

Roger Pfingston

Jacqueline Powers

Julie Preis

Eve Rifkah

Kim Roberts

Teri Rosen

Helen Ruggieri

Karen Saunders

Karen Schubert

J.D. Smith

Dean Smith

Rose Solari

Margo Solod

Colette Thomas

Steven Trebellas

Rosemary Winslow

Kathi Wolfe

Anne Harding Woodworth

Ernie Wormwood

Katherine Young










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Last Updated: Sep 16th, 2007 - 08:34:32

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