Two Poems by Fran Abrams






Follow the Directions

It was the blue-covered cookbook she reached for every time.
She couldn’t remember when she had received it, 
wondered if she had borrowed it 
from a friend and never returned it.

Its title was 365 Recipes for Eating Healthy. Strange really
because the shade of blue seemed unappetizing. 
She couldn’t think of a dish that was blue that she wanted to eat. 
Even blueberry pie was more purple than blue.

But she did love the recipe for meatloaf in that book, 
made with ground turkey instead of beef, turkey seasonings, 
like sage, instead of oregano and mustard. Her family loved it, 
never admitted they knew it wasn’t ground beef.

Still the color blue on the cover bothered her.
What prompted the artist to choose such a soothing
color? A color that encouraged her to sit down
with a cup of tea and forget all about cooking.

Paper Fan

The white curtains fluttered at the window,
not because of a gentle breeze,
but due to the struggles of the box fan
you had borrowed from your neighbor.

The windows were open barely six inches,
fan trying to bring fresh air into the house.
Hopeless given the air outside
was at least 85 degrees. Box fan succeeded 

only in mimicking the sense of waving a paper
fan during a show at an old-time movie theater,
a sense of momentarily moving the weight
of human humidity from one place to another.

When you looked through the windows, 
past the curtains, you saw the solid blue sky 
uninterrupted by clouds. If only you could breathe 
in sky, exhale heavy air, wash your lungs with blue.

Fran Abrams, Rockville, MD, has poems published in many journals and in more than a dozen anthologies. Three collections of her poetry have been published: I Rode the Second Wave: A Feminist Memoir (Atmosphere Press, November 2022), The Poet Who Loves Pythagoras (Finishing Line Press, April 2023), and Arranging Words (Quillkeepers Press, October 2023). Her poem titled “Flying Away” published in Gargoyle Magazine Online has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poem titled “When We Each Bring a Dish” won First Runner-Up from Washington Writers’ Publishing House in their 2023 holiday poem contest. Please visit for more. 

Image: “A changing fan” by ESA/Hubble & NASA under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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