The Orange Room Review

Accessible poetry of substance


Dark Promises

by Martha Christina


My parents' voices
wake me, again. 

I try not to hear
my father's 
insistent syllables:

"If you don't . . .,
I promise 
I will put you
in an institution."

It isn't sex he's 
demanding;
he wants her
to care for
me, to care
about me.

And although 
encephalitis
and its fever
ended 
that ability,

my mother promises
again in the dark
to be other than

her changed self

as if she could be.



MARTHA CHRISTINA is a frequent contributor to Brevities and has also published short poems in Four and Twenty, Three Line Poetry, and Lilliput Review. Longer work has appeared in earlier issues of The Orange Room Review and in recent issues of Apple Valley Review, Common Ground Review, and The Unrorean.