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Tea Leaves: a memoir of mothers and daughters by Janet Mason (Bella Books April 2012) is now available -- click here for more info

“There is something here for everyone who has ever loved someone else or plans to. I highly recommend “Tea Leaves” just because it is so real and so beautifully written.”–Reviews by Amos Lassen

check out Janet Mason's author blog

read Janet Mason's latest piece in The Huffington Post --Chick-fil-A: What Would Gandhi Do If He Were Gay? ('s) featured writer:

Karen Mittelman -- two poems

Click here to read other poems by Karen Mittelman
Click here to read a new novel excerpt by Karen Mittelman
Click here to read Karen's words on Tea Leaves: a memoir of mothers and daughters by Janet Mason


At the Hayden Planetarium

In domed obsidian blackness
stars whirl past,
suggesting vast universes
fragile and finite
like our own,
yet each one rushing
on its particular
precious course
Beside me,
my small son and his
grandfather touch elbows,
tip their
heads back in awe
For weeks we have known only
one hospital room,
a life's single moment,
the crazed immersion
that illness brings,
the ache to encircle
what shimmers before us.
the sky alive all around,
distant moons blaze and blink,
roar to us in their infinitude:

how intensely one life matters,
how much huger than one
we are.












Not recognizing death,
he brings
his boundless all
to this task –

first nudging the older dog with a paw
where she lies panting on
cool kitchen tile

then pushing with his nose,
then trying with utmost
gentleness to slide
their shared metal water bowl

across the floor,
so his companion of only
a few years
might take a long drink.

I wonder how he knows this,
that when we are empty hearted
when we do not understand

when the light slanting into
a hospital window is
nothing but light,
when we have less

than nothing and are
dry with want,
hunched over, fighting
our own bones –

A drink of water
can become a small beginning,
can carry us, parched as we are,
bowls in hand.












Karen Mittelman, poet

Karen Mittelman

Both a mother and a stepmother, Karen Mittelman has been writing poetry, fiction and non-fiction for over twenty years. Her work has appeared in Fireweed, Red River Review, and the Comstock Review, among other journals. Her first novel, Force of Nature, recently won second prize for literary fiction in a nationwide contest sponsored by the Maryland Writers' Association. Karen has a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Pennsylvania, and has taught both history and writing. She lives and works in Owings, Maryland, a small town near the Chesapeake Bay, where she is working to create a charter school focusing on the creative arts and environmental education.

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