PoetryIssue 18 | June 2013

Never Never Land

by Wendy Vardaman

You want to run. Get shed of this place, these boys, their stuff. There’s never time enough for your work, whatever that is, and never any help. Bagel halves hardened under chairs and sofas, soda cans swirling with little constellations of fruit flies. Tinker Bell? A myth. She’s a cloud of insects over the banana peels on counters, trash barrel overflowing, spilled syrup, open packages of frozen orange chicken and loose pieces of candy everywhere you step. A figment who wouldn’t wave her wand to help with this mess if she did exist, and she’s laughing behind your back, too, making funny faces that contain your grim, your desperate, If each of you could take just ten minutes to pick up trash, to hang up shirts… And Tink says, Do you hear anything? She pauses, cupping her ear. A little insect buzz? Come on boys, let’s go hike in the forest! You say you don’t like being the maid. And Peter says, Why are you so cranky? We’re having fun! Things don’t need to be perfect. So you sling the unwashed dishes, silverware, pots and all into a bulging bag of trash and drag it to the curb. One thing’s for sure: you’re tired of never getting any help, of never going anywhere, of never having any time to paint, and Captain Hook, who has an MFA and an inheritance, has been hanging out for years with his starched white collars, his dinner jackets, his careful coiffure, begging you to cruise the world, and though you’ve told him never many times, you know he knows each never grows more faint, that no one believes you anymore. It’s just a matter of time before the boys all leave for college.

About the author

Wendy Vardaman has lived in Finland, Italy, the east coast, the west coast, the south, and many states between. She has never owned a car and is always planning the next trip. One of Madison, Wisconsin’s Poets Laureate, Wendy is also co-editor/webmaster of Verse Wisconsin, and co-editor of the forthcoming anthology, Echolocations, Poets Map Wisconsin. Visit her here.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok