Irene Fick

Pine Row Issue No. 9 Spring 2024 - Featured Poet

Chicago:  Deadbolts 


Five below (ten with wind chill) muffled in wool and down

I wait for the 146. City’s serrated breath keeps me stiff, slanted.

Heading home to the spare/square-shaped studio, nine-inch view


of the Lake. I sink deep into the rented sofa, watch Mary Tyler Moore

toss that beret.  Oh, Mary had it all: single, smart, no fear

of the ruin and misery Mom knew would come. She warned me


all those carefree girls tossing hats in the air, stocking tiny spaces

with all those ferns and pottery and scented candles!


Today, Mom called about the news: that poor young lady, my age,

strangled dead in her apartment! A stranger picked her paltry lock.


She begged me: get a deadbolt, don’t answer the door anymore.

And, by the way, why can’t I be like my cousins back East? 


Satisfied girls who lived at home with their mothers until saved

by solid men/silver rings/solemn vows.


After the weddings, they moved across the street, down the block

even upstairs – never far from their mothers, safe, secure,

never a need for bolted doors.

About the poem:  as shared by the poet

"Chicago: Deadbolts" came about as I remembered my time living in Chicago - I felt so "grown-up" - my first apartment and the excitement of living downtown, yet my mother was constantly worried about my safety.  This was also very foreign to her - as all of my girl cousins back in Brooklyn lived at home till they married. It was just what they did.   

Irene Fick is active in two writers groups in the Rehoboth Beach, Delaware area. Her first two chapbooks each received first place national awards (published by Broadkill Press and Main Street Rag).  Her poetry also been published in journals such as Blue Mountain Review, Willawaw Journal, Delmarva Review and Poet Lore. A third manuscript is nearing completion.

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