Mara Ptacek has raised a family and taught French, English and Writing at her local high school. Now she travels, runs and writes poetry. Some of the publications in which her work has appeared: Blue Unicorn, Wisconsin Poets' Calendars, Studio 7, Primipara and Third Coast Archives.


the nurse,
and standing tall,
and he
the social worker
in the corridor,
face to face.

Her right arm,
his left,
They do a rhythmic
circle round.

He smiles,
breaks the routine
in the dance
of the day.

Copyright by Mara Ptacek

The Immigrants

The immigrants keep coming
to the free city,
a few, the very brave,
self-exiled in the acrid confusion
of unfamiliar streets and foreign tongues,
meaningless as fuzzed-out
Voice of America broadcasts.
Their own words, useless
in their fight for space and work.
They cleanse their mouths of complaints,
deny the old country still in their taste buds.
Their numb eyes speak a new brutality.

Copyright by Mara Ptacek

Running with Nani

She came to visit us for a few
days. She was just a golden labrador pup
when they got her for Christmas, 1990.

And Edie named her Nani, meaning
beautiful in Hawaiian. With her
physique, with her light almost white
ochre-colored coat, big brown eyes,
                                                     her name's perfect.

We call her Horse. She, who's big
as a horse, powerful, beautiful, wonderful
as a horse. And so agile, we could call
                                                             her Gazelle.

Running with me, she bounds after
a backyard squirrel, back to touch base,
across the street to a dog on the loose, fire in
her eyes. In the dog kingdom Nani rules.

Back again, she leaps boldly toward my
face, stops me in my tracks. Surely she
will trip me up. Seconds later, a 180 degree turn
and she's off chasing blackbirds.

Running with Nani is something else,
is definitely a world class event.

Copyright by Mara Ptacek

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