Poems by Arvilla Fee

PC: eberhard grossgasteiger




Where are my shoes?
In the shoe bin.
I can’t find my pencils!
They’re on the table.
I’ve lost my favorite t-shirt!
Dresser, third drawer down.

If only it was still that easy,
that mother’s knack
of knowing where everything
is—a dolphin’s echolocation
for each missing item.

But the questions grew harder:
Where is my place in the world?
Where is the God of my youth?

I frantically search for answers
as my daughter combs the globe
for her soul.


Hats off to

wearing designer
sports gear
neon tennis shoes
fashionable pony tails

body builders
lifting weights
flexing biceps
all muscle, no fat
chugging milk proteins

adorable helmets
skin-tight pants
body streamlined
traveling 100 miles

getting out of bed
chasing a toddler
writing poetry
narrowly avoiding
    mental breakdowns.


Hitchhiking to the Stars

Thumb out, walking backwards
feet steady near the ditch,

hoping for a rocket
need a quick escape,

mapped out in light years,
nothing but a backpack,

leaving weight behind.

Can I get a countdown,
systems checked and ready.

I’ll wave to the moon
on my way to the stars;

if you see a new light,
sitting in the dipper

you’ll know I’ve arrived.


Nothing at All

Her eyes look at me
but see nothing;
she’s swimming
in the heroin sea,
playing the mermaid,
wrapping herself
in seaweed.
Pupils dilated,
she’s down,
chillest of chill.
She says I love you,
and I know on another
day, that might be true.
But not today.
Today she loves nothing
but the euphoric high
squirted from the end
of a needle.



Armed with a broom
and dustpan,
I sweep up the fragments
of my dreams,
dropped because my arms
were too full—
too many unset boundaries
too many times of saying yes
instead of no
too many voices clamoring.
I think I can use super glue,
repurpose the mended
I’ll just need to find that one
missing piece
that skidded under the stove.


What the World Sees

It’s all there,
isn’t it?
Splayed out
on social media,
the whole enchilada,
keeping up with the Joneses!
Beach shots,
mountain shots,
fountains in Rome!
Plates of artfully arranged food,
perfectly groomed dogs,
perfectly coifed kids,
picturesque smiles
and positive attitudes.
Heaven forbid
one should post
an ugly cry,
bruises inside,
shadows under eyes,
macaroni and cheese
eaten in plastic bowls
In front of the TV,
laundry piled on the floor,
little pills in the drawer
you take for depression
because sometimes
life is just too damn hard
and you can barely
force yourself out of bed
let alone make cute pancakes
to post on Instagram.


About the Author

Arvilla Fee teaches English Composition for Clark State College and is the poetry editor for the San Antonio Review. She has published poetry, photography, and short stories in numerous presses, and her poetry book, The Human Side, was just released December 2022. For Arvilla, writing produces the greatest joy when it connects us to each other.