TANDEM | Joan Michelson


The surprise of death came to her husband first.

Then she was ill. She sold the bicycles,

the two outfitted for long distance trips,


sleek and hardly used. She threw in maps

for nothing. And panniers. The school kept her

until she could not get there. A carer,


a wheelchair, a year of winter. No longer able

to make out features, know our faces,

she greeted all she passed with a loud Hello.


That’s what I remember, and her face,

by then a swollen full moon red that blazed

beneath her fur-rimmed Christmas stocking cap. 

Joan Michelson’s publications include Toward the Heliopause, Poetic Matrix Publishers, CA, 2011, poems, fiction, and essays in British Council anthologies, New Writing vols 3, 4, 14: ‘Prognosis’, The American Journal of Nursing, 2012: ‘The Next Week’, The Best of Bellevue anthology. ‘Muslim Girl’ won the Hamish Canham Prize from the Poetry Society of England, 2012; ‘Daxon Fraser’, won first prize, Torriano International Competition, 2014. ‘Stories,’ won first prize, the Bristol Poetry Competition, 2015. ‘Eva Borrisov’ was published in ‘Intima’ Autumn issue 2015. ‘A Slice of Strudel, ‘Intima’ Spring issue 2016. Five poems in bilingual form (Italian-English) are forthcoming in ‘Cenobio’ Switzerland. Former Head of Creative Writing, University of Woverhampton, Joan teaches creative writing to Medical Students at Kings College, University of London. An American, she lives in England.