NPM 6: Missouri & Beyond

YARN’s National Poetry Month project “Crossing Country Line by Line continues with this poetry chain started by cfrancis blackchild of Missouri. A cool FYI–cfrancis got TWO responses to her poem, so we’ll have NPM 6.5 coming soon!


Map of Missouri - Image courtesy of Geographicus Rare Antique Maps (Wikimedia Commons) PD-US

cfrancis blackchild (Missouri)

leaving los angeles

my therapist cried when I left
but I sat dry eyed

I had mourned the loss before
-Mexican market
-the Korean fruit man
-99 cents stores
-my sister
-friends hard won
-career just begun
the place I called home
-the walls
-the closets
-the cement patio
that housed me and my worn belongings
and gave sanctuary
and solace

she dabbed her eyes
I waited
wanting it over

the truck has been unloaded
the adrenaline spent
and I lay
wishing I had tears
to relieve my loneliness

Sara Taddeo (Maine)


I have gone down.
A useless gown
All I carry.
No ship will tarry:

No port this town.
Adrift no more,
I fear to drown
In sight of shore!

Fearful sailor,
My soul’s jailer,
Can’t steer the ship
Can’t bear the whip.

The golden age?
A gilded cage!
Sweet bird of youth
Is long since flown.

Cecile Mazzucco-Than (New York)

Old Man

Why persist
to sit in the sun?
You are no longer
a supple, tawny apple.
The sun strengthens,
you say,
but it has sapped your juice,
greedily sucking your round fullness
until it hangs in heavy rings
measuring your years.
Wizened as a walnut,
you, too, will crack
In the sun.

Therese B. Dykeman

Young Man

Why do I persist
To sit in the sun
Wizened as a dry walnut?
I will tell you.
I sit here to watch you run
On sun inspired energy,
To see your thin, brown arms
Testing their strength, arms
That will one day care for
Things and hold preciousness
Brighter than any suns.
And you will remember!

cfrancis blackchild, a doctoral candidate in theatre at the University of Missouri, holds an MA in African Diaspora Studies from Mizzou, an MFA in playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, and a teaching credential from California State University, Los Angeles. She teaches African-American theatre history, acting, playwriting, and solo performance. Her research interests include African-American woman theatre practitioners and her dissertation examines director Lloyd Richards’s work with actors.


Sara A. Taddeo was born to two actors and raised in New York City, where she attended Stuyvesant H.S. She received her B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Barnard College and her M.A. in Spanish from the University of Texas. For her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, she studied the woman’s voice in Spanish, Italian and English Renaissance comedies.
She has lived up and down the East coast – and briefly near Los Angeles – but has called Maine home for the last 13 years. She taught briefly, then worked as an independent scholar and is now active in advocacy for the public schools, particularly science and special education issues.

Cecile Mazzucco-Than holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a freelance writer, editor, and educator. She is the author of “A Form Foredoomed to Looseness”: Henry James’s Preoccupation with the Gender of Fiction and academic articles ranging from a study of Catherine Macaulay’s History of England to Cervantes’s Novelas ejemplares. Her essays have appeared in upstreet, Under the Sun, North Atlantic Review, and Connecticut Review as well as the middle-grade anthology, Stories From Where We Live: The North Atlantic Coast. She is a member of the Long Island Children’s Writers and Illustrators, and she was the co-recipient of a New York State grant to develop and present a creative writing summer workshop for tweens at the Port Jefferson Free Library. She and her family have never lived too far from the shore, and they enjoy portraying Victorian characters for their town’s annual Dickens Festival.

Therese Boos Dykeman earned a Ph.D. from Union Institute in Cincinnati, OH in rhetoric history and theory. She has taught rhetoric and philosophy in colleges and universities in Connecticut. She is the editor of books on women philosophers, among them: “The Neglected Canon,” “Contributions by Women to Early American Philosophy,” and “Contributions by Women to Ninetenth American Philosophy.” She is a sometime poet and musician and a lover of grandchildren and the beauties of nature, forest to beach.

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