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Betsy Mars

Betsy Mars is a poet, photographer, and occasional publisher. She founded Kingly Street Press and released her first anthology, Unsheathed: 24 Contemporary Poets Take Up the Knife, in October 2019. Her work has recently appeared in Writing In A Woman’s Voice, Praxis, and The Ekphrastic Review. Her chapbook, Alinea, was published in January 2019. In the Muddle of the Night, with Alan Walowitz, is coming soon from Arroyo Seco Press.


Don’t buy any green bananas
was my father’s favorite joke right to the end.

He was not one to waste food,
or emotions. A child of the Depression,
his family had time only for the practical.

The inside of a banana peel
worked for a quick shoeshine, he told me.

He stocked up on only what would keep:
dry goods, dates, and prunes
that later I ingested,
choking down his lessons,

seeking absolution or a sign –
ignoring the banana,

finally peaking –
still hanging from a hook.
there in his kitchen, a punch line.
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