DEAR OPPORTUNITY, 1945
there has been
a bit of bait & switch
Kitchen duty (no sir)
Latrine-mopping (no sir)
Butter-cutting (no sir)
Trash-collecting (no sir)
Uncle Sam advertised
new skills – FREE education
snappy uniform with a stipend
Black & White WACs alike
but (no sir)
arrest - court-martial
temporary insanity (no sir)
separate but equal
bound to get checked
her foot her note her voice her disobedience her foot her note her voice her defiance WAC Privates Mary Green Johnny Murphy Anna Morrison Alice Young
* * * * *
Stacy’s poems, plays, and visual art have been published in Black Arts Quarterly, New American Writing, Foglifter, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. He is a Cave Canem poetry fellow, and recipient of an individual artist grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission. He has been a contributing editor of Foglifter literary journal and was formerly on the board of directors of ZYZZYVA literary journal.
St. Petersburg, Russia: January 1740
In a creamy damask gown, trimmed with gold lace
and ornaments, with accents of sulphurous yellow,
a heavy gold cross breathing on her full bosom,
the Tsarina held court.
Graceful, imperial, and fat, thought Golitsyn of
Only last week, in the royal hall, settled in a basket,
he had flapped his arms,
resigned to clucking—
a chicken for the royal amusement
And yesterday, mounted on a dwarf, he had
jousted with another unfortunate, balanced
on the back of a court clown, until all four
were flailing, grabbing, gouging each other’s
Prince Golitsyn drew in a long breath,
listened politely as the Spanish ambassador
addressed the Empress in Russian with
an accent that inhaled the final letters of each word.
Orange trees, myrtles, and palms lined
walks on either side of the Grand Hall while,
behind potted screens of trees and flowers, courtiers
and ladies fanned themselves and whispered.
Gobelin tapesties depicted scenes from
a primitive world, lush, filled with
tigers, monkeys, Indian geese, and cranes.
Along the walk, caged nightingales sang
as the scent of perfumes circled and re-circled
the expansive room.
Servants in yellow-and-black livery served
fruity wines and vodka in abundance, though
drunkenness was never allowed.
In one corner, dancers in brightly colored domino—
orange, green, blue—
ruffs at the neck, with tiny hats sporting
gold and silver cockades, danced a quadrille played by
an Italian orchestra.
Near the Tsarina a pair of enormous leopards, in
embossed silver and flat-chased work, their collars
encrusted with emeralds, their faceted eyes brilliant
in the reflected light, watched fiercely.
Enchanting as any mid-summer’s dream,
Only the porcelain stoves and the windows staring
glassy-eyed at the frozen Neva below betrayed
the atmosphere of summer solstice—the black earth
invisible beneath the snowy landscape,
the sun pale, winter’s blue-white chill transformed
by magic and rubles.
Prince Golitsyn shivered, respectfully welcomed
the address of the Tsaritsa.
She was seemingly gracious, double-chinned,
her skin swarthy, her features coarse.
Dark hair fell across her shoulders, her eyes sparkled
with pleasure, wine, and conversation.
The prince listened as she spoke.
He knew Anna, her history:
niece to the imperious Peter the Great, and achildhood that could scarcely avoid beheadings,hangings, cruelty that left heads on pikes, bodiesdangling from beams or gallows; marriage at seventeen to the Duke of Courland, amiserable wretch, who died a week after the wedding;nineteen years, alone, unhappy, seemingly banishedfrom Russia to Mitau in a remote German duchy;then, ascendance to the throne of all the Russias afterthe deaths of Peter, his wife, Catherine, andthe boy Tsar, Peter, the Second;the scale of excess, the magnificence:the 10,000 dresses, the palaces, the silver, the glittering jewels;the exotic animals that roamed the gardens,fair target for the Tsarina who took aim from palacewindows at the unsuspecting beasts;the dwarfs, the hunchbacks, the giants, the fools whopleased Anna’s less obvious deformity of spirit.the 2000 dissenters each year exiled to Siberia; thesecret police who exposed and executed traitors;and, of course, the Tsarina’s unpopular alliance toErnst Biron, a brusque German with no fondness forRussians, a man Anna shared with his wife.
Golitsyn focused on the eyes of the Tsaritsa,
noticed again her left eye slightly flecked in lighter violet.
Then the announcement.
Anna had arranged a marriage and festivities;
he was to be the groom to an unknown wife.
The music temporarily ceased; outside Golitsyn
heard the honking of a goose.
Skybend….all in grays. Birds froze, fell out
of the sky.
Cathedral bells splintered the icy air.
Golitsyn was to marry Avdotya,
a Kalmuck serving woman.
Nicknamed “Buzhenina” for the Tsarina’s favorite
dish, roast pork with spiced vinegar and onions,
she was pink, plump, thoroughly peasant.
Golitsyn’s first marriage, disapproved of,
had made him an object of vengeance, court buffoon.
Now he was riding in an iron cage, swaying atop an
elephant as it lumbered along to the wedding reception.
No more precarious than any day at court, he mused.
Bride and groom were barely visible under fur coats,
muffs, and hats.
Behind them followed costumed natives, Tartars and
Lapps, Finns and Cossacks, Bashkirs and Kalmucks on
horses, camels; members of the court rode next in sleighs
drawn by a menagerie of reindeer, rams, bears, wolves,
At midnight another procession.
The ice palace was lighted with torches.
Hundreds of candles shown from within, radiating
their soft brilliance through transparent walls.
A tribute to Palladio, the edifice stood eighty feet
long, thirty-three high, and twenty-three deep;
surrounding the house, a balustrade topped with balls
of ice, and cornices, columns.
Six niches in the façade held statues, while over the entrance,
four-winged putti flew; ice dolphins, an elephant,
cannons, and marvelous fountains adorned the exterior.
Trees and plants, sculpted from winter’s resources, bloomed
amid their surroundings.
Inside….all crystal ice….bottles, boxes, candlesticks, an
elaborately carved ice mirror, benches, shelves,
dishes, goblets, tea sets, a clock whose inner works of
moving, interlocking wheels were clearly visible, a deck of
playing cards, their suits realistically painted, and an ice
bed for the newly wedded couple.
The Tsarina dressed in brown, with only pearls for
decoration, standing beside Biron, laughed a dark laugh.
Golitsyn suddenly remembered words he had heard
from Timothy Arkhipovich, long ago a tutor and houseguest at
Izmailov, Anna’s childhood home:
“We Russians need no bread; we devour each other and are satisfied.”
Ann Power is a retired faculty member from The University of Alabama where she worked as a coordinator for the Bibliographic Instruction Program, University Libraries. She enjoys writing historical sketches as well as poems based in the kingdoms of magical realism. Her work has appeared in The Pacific Review (CSU San Bernardino), The Puckerbrush Review, Limestone, Spillway, Gargoyle Magazine, The Birmingham Poetry Review, The American Poetry Journal, Dappled Things, and Caveat Lector.
The Copperfield Review seeks to publish the best in historical short fiction and historical poetry. We proudly announce our second anthology of historical fiction.
Anthology Submission dates: April 1, 2021 through August 31, 2021
Anthology submissions should be sent through Submittable. There is a $3 reading fee. The word Anthology should appear in the submission title.
Fiction: Submit one short story of historical fiction of up to 4000 words. The story must be historical fiction, though it may also be a sub-genre such as historical romance, historical mystery, etc. We do not accept alternative history submissions.
Poetry: Submit up to 3 poems in one document. Poetry should be either historical fiction or based on a historical subject.
Copperfield’s second anthology of historical fiction is scheduled for publication in October 2021.
The anthology will be published in ebook and paperback formats. Authors whose works are chosen to appear in the anthology agree to have their stories or poems appear in marketing materials to promote sales of the anthology.
Authors will receive an honorarium as well as two contributor paperback copies and a copy of the ebook. The honorarium will be $25 USD.
Authors who agree to appear in the anthology grant The Copperfield Review the right to publish their work in ebook and paperback formats in the anthology. Otherwise, authors retain all rights to their work and they are free to license or sell their work however they wish. Future publication of work that appears in the anthology should be noted as first appearing in The Copperfield Review’s anthology. Copyright of the anthology collection itself is owned by The Copperfield Review.
The Copperfield Review is proud to announce our First Annual Copperfield Awards for the Best in Historical Short Fiction and Poetry.
We will accept submissions from March 15, 2021 through October 10, 2021, with winners to be announced on Friday, December 10, 2021. There is a $25 entry fee per short story and a $20 entry fee per poem.
Historical short fiction submissions may be no longer than 4000 words in length. Authors may submit one story per entry fee.
We accept submissions of history-based poetry. Poets may submit two poems per entry fee.
The author’s name and email address should be at the top of the submission but not elsewhere.
Submissions sent without payment will not be considered for the contest.
One grand prize winner in short fiction will receive $250 and one grand prize winner in historical poetry will receive $200. Grand prize winners, with the top four finalists in short fiction and historical poetry will be featured in a special digital/print edition of The Copperfield Review to appear in February 2022.
Submit your work to submitcopperfield(at)gmail.com. Make sure the subject line of your email reads either Contest Submission Fiction or Contest Submission Poetry.
Authors can pay for their contest submissions using the PayPal link below.
May. The Moon When Ponies Shed Their Shaggy Hair.
Horsemen against a red western sky ride through White River Valley.
Warriors, women and children trail in the twilight dust, ghostlike,
pushing forward, reaching back to the bleeding horizon.
Buffalo gone. Freedom gone. The sacred circle broken. Huddled
by the fort at the foot of ancient cliffs, places of dreaming,
they chant the peace song. Dog soldiers and Indian scouts
surround the horsemen: Little Hawk, Big Road, He Dog, and their chief,
the man they call Strange One.
In silence he roams among them, noticing none but the children.
Solitary creature, like a hawk on the wing. Small and slim, a single feather
at the back of his head. Braids of brown fur-wrapped hair hanging long
over plain buckskin, a Winchester dangling at his knee. His power,
a boyhood vision of the world behind this one. Spirit home of all things living,
where he and his horse dance queer like shadows floating,
giving him the name Tashunka-Uitco, Crazy Horse.
Facing the Blue Coats, he stares down the darkness. Ferocious eyes,
face of blazing rage. The soldiers fear him above all others, fear his strong medicine,
his war club, his scalping knife. They have heard the stories. Or lived to tell their own.
How he chewed dried eagle heart and wild aster flowers for power and protection
from the guns and bayonets, the bullets like hail around him. How on the plains
and in the hills, charging into battle on a yellow pinto, eager and tireless
for the killing, he whipped them on the Powder, along the Yellowstone,
beside the Rosebud, at the Little Big Horn.
And after all that, this. The final insult. Bringing the Lakotas to the Soldier Town,
trading skin tepees for canvas tents, bounty for hunger. Surrendering weapons
and horses and vigor to the whites who swell like flood waters over the land,
following the smell of gold. Wishing for the evening wind waving
through tall grass, for the blazing fires of village centers where the people
dance and sing Hoka hey! Hoka hey! until night gives birth to morning sun
rising over the breaks of distant bluffs. Longing for the old days, the Indian ways.
Spotted eagle circling above me.
Plunging at my feet.
Under its wing, iron knife stuck deep.
Blood filling my moccasins.
Drum beating in my head like horse hooves
on hollow ground. Great Spirit, take me
to distant dark country where my anger can roam free,
far from white man’s chains and crooked tongues.
Our ways and theirs, different
as sun from moon. Hey-a-a-hey! Have courage my people.
Only the earth endures.
Behold! In the clouds, a thunder being smoking healing herbs
in the holy pipe. A rider with lightning limbs
on a white-faced bay facing east. Behold!
All tribes, one nation. Walking the black road home.
Hou! This day my heart is good.
It is a beautiful time to die.
III.Messenger comeswith slow feet of bad news:Betrayal and lies.Promises broken.Red steel, long knifeflashing in late sun.Brave warriordrops to the dustby the soldiers’ iron house,dark pools of bloodmirror sacred sky.
Ahh-h! Curly, my son.
Strong, good and wise man!
A father’s heart heavy with loss.
A mother’s tears like rain
spilling over smooth stones.
The people’s vision blinded,
their voice silenced,
stars turning toward midnight.
No killing, no taking of scalps
can bring you back
or make the darkness fade.
But your spirit will rise,
and your bones will sleep
under grass facing blue sky
along a creek beneath cottonwoods
crowded by plum and chokeberry thickets;
where as a boy
you liked to run
and hunt and dream,
the earth, rain and four winds
your only companions.
This holy place
your father and mother alone
will know, and we will die
holding the secret in our breasts
with eternal love for you,
our son, our Strange One.
“Still, when we take into consideration the Glory attached to a whaleman’s life, one perhaps ought to be happy.”—from Whale Hunt, by Nelson Cole Haley
Harpooner on the Charles W. Morgan, 1849-1853
Sometimes on the cuttin stage
to leviate the back break
of work I let my mind wander
to New Bedford, but it’s always autumn,
when those leaves were sun-baked
to the color of pumpkin pie,
and I remember that Eve
of All Hallows when I found
my daughter by the fireside
telling fortunes with her friends.
See, they was paring apples,
turnin the fruit over and over
in their hands, tryin to keep
the peel in one piece
to learn in the future if their husbands
will be rich or not.
Well, I hollered at them,
said they were no better’n them girls
from Salem, those villagers
callin folks witches,
while I threw the apple peels
in the fire. Now I stand
here in the hot sun
over beggar sharks as we strip
blubber from this whale,
rotate the beast until peeled
clean in one long piece,
longin to smell those burning
apple peels instead,
and I don’t need no crystal ball
or a clear sea to foretell
that those girls’ll marry whalers,
every last one of ‘em,
and there’s no use
in none of us wishin on
wealth from a paltry
lay of whale oil.
Joanie DiMartino has work published in many literary journals and anthologies, including Modern Haiku, Alimentum, Calyx, and Circe’s Lament: An Anthology of Wild Women. She is a past winner of the Betty Gabehart Award for Poetry. DiMartino is the author of two collections of poetry, Licking the Spoon and Strange Girls, and is completing her third manuscript, “Wood to Skin,” about the 19th-century whaling industry, for which she was a 38th Voyager on the Charles W. Morgan. Joanie also is a historian and museum professional; she currently serves as the curator and site superintendent of the Prudence Crandall Museum, a National Historic Landmark. Her poetry often addresses historical topics. Visit her website at www.joaniedimartino.com.
Sewing machines line up in tidy rows like schoolgirls at dismissal.
Girlish laughter, a babble of Yiddish, Italian, and English floats
Through the air, cutting the loud thrum of the machines as the girls \
and machine becoming one instrument, an alchemy
Of sorts. No fairytale this. Rather than spin hay to gold,
the y sew pieces of cloth to shirts, for which
Receive green not gold. Nothing gold can stay.
Fabric eddies around their feet, white whorls, bits of white cotton
Fly through the air like snow. It is cold and the factory feels chilly
Despte the press of bodies. Outside in Washington Square Park,
Gentlemen and ladies stroll through the park in shirtwaists & skirts,
Fine suits, hats and parasols to protect their skin from the sun.
The wealthy, their lives made out of whole cloth, the finest materials, walk through
Washington Square Park, oblivious that young women, their lives pieced together
From fragments, watch them from large picture windows, ten stories closer to the clouds.
Late afternoon. Fabric and shirtwaists stacked in neat piles. Marbled monuments
To youth, energy, work. An ember catches, smoke rises from below. Flames dance
Along the walls, leap from one wall to another. A terrible beauty.
It becomes clear that there is nowhere to go, no way to leave alive.
A young woman steps up to the window frame,
flings her hat into the air, opens her purse,
Rains money down to the crowd below, who watch in horror.
She jumps. A young man holds out his hand, helps a young woman onto the windowsill
In another life, he would be helping her into a carriage.
He holds her away from the building, lets her drop. In another life,
he would be waltzing her in a ballroom. He does the same for a second and third woman.
A fourth woman steps up, his love. They embrace, kiss. He holds her out into space
Drops her. He follows, jumps with his hat on, wearing brown socks and black shoes.
Pas de deux.
Laws were passed. Everyone agreed “Never again”.
101 years later, 112 young women in bright shalwar kameez
Enter the Tazreen factory, never to emerge.
Marceline White is a Baltimore-based writer. She writes policy, prose, poems, essays, and plays. An artist and activist, Marceline’s poetry has appeared in The Free State Review, The Loch Raven Review, The Shattered Wig Review, anthologies including Ancient Party: Collaborations in Baltimore, 2000-2010; and Life in Me Like Grass on Fire. Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in Woman’s Day, Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Sun, and Mother Jones.
The armies of the Great Khan,
swiftly as hawks,
surrounded the ancient city of Bamyan.
Destruction blackened the brow of the Khan
because the city was slow to fall,
and he was impatient for glory in lands far.
But the way was found to the City,
through the heart of the fair princess of Bamyan,
who fell for a bold Tartar
when she saw him.
And she told the secret way to the city,
which was beneath the mountains, over the streams.
So, in the blind heat of her love
she did betray, unknowingly,
the well-guarded secret
of countless generations gone by,
and the lover pressed her to his breast,
promising to make her queen over vast domains.
The strong city fell through treachery;
The enraged conqueror spilled blood freely.
Then he ordered the deaths of many,
including the Princess; she betrayed her fathers!
The arm that had embraced her so tenderly,
was raised to kill her, with a single sharp blow!
Thus ended her young, un-bloomed love,
under the hoofs of conquering horses.
Yusuf Tahir has written numerous poems on diverse topics, his favorites being nature, the human condition, destiny, and desires. His poetry collection was published in 2003 by Pearls Book’em Publishers Atlanta under the title Just like a blooming rose.
All Grandmas spoke Yiddish
when I was five. I now understand
she came from far away
bringing her feather bed
for winter night snuggling
and her candlesticks
for Friday evening prayers.
She never spoke of the journey,
of being third class cargo
forced to disembark at Tilbury,
down-wind of discerning Londoners,
scrutinised by Health Inspectors,
She never spoke of the warnings
from Government officials,
from Times letter writers,
even from London Rabbis;
no room, no jobs, don’t come.
She came anyway.
There was no choice.
She sought work
becoming part of an East End shtetl
with Jewish neighbours, kosher shops,
a Synagogue on every other corner.
She almost forgot to be afraid.
Rosalind Adam lives in Leicester, UK. She is the author of several children’s history books, including The Children’s Book of Richard III. Her poetry has been published in anthologies and online sites. In 2018, she won the G. S. Fraser poetry prize and was awarded a distinction for her Masters in Creative Writing at The University of Leicester.
Father Abelard, they call me—father,
who shall never be one again.
Even this reminder cannot break me,
though my love for you was torn
from my breast as violently
as my manhood from my flesh.
When I met you, you were but a girl,
yet in your mind what worlds burned!
Your eyes—my incandescent girl, your eyes
glowed with mysteries I could not fathom—
even now you remain opaque
to me, who knew you best of all men.
As your teacher, I fanned those flames
into a bonfire—as your lover,
I was consumed by it.
Together, you and I, we defied them—
we survived. Summer dragonflies
bereft of wings, we will not fly again—
the tidal waves that stormed between us
seem but surface swells to me now.
The dry husk my soul represents
consoles itself with the promise
of redemption in another realm.
I entreat you, Heloise, to embrace
likewise this redoubled peace,
though in your words I read a spirit
unresigned to this new life.
Never doubt that I remember you—never—
you rule forever an enclosed parcel
of my mind, as a queen
over a once fertile land
that now lies fallow.
Beatriz F. Fernandez is the author of The Ocean Between Us (Backbone Press, 2017) and Shining from a Different Firmament (Finishing Line Press, 2015) which she presented at the Miami Book Fair International. She has read her poetry on WLRN, South Florida’s NPR news station and was the grand prize winner of the 2nd annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Falling Star Magazine, Label Me Latina/o, Thirty West Publishing House, Words Dance, and Writer’s Digest, among others. Beatriz has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes as well as Best of the Net. Twitter: @nebula61.