What If? An Anthology, curated by Arlene S. Bice, Editor

Every time I pick up What If?, the poetry book curated by Arlene Bice for a writing group she hosts, I am overwhelmed, grateful and awed by the talent, the stories that have depth and emotional bravery.

I love these women and appreciate their heart shared writings. These stories will speak to you as well, I am certain of it. You can buy it at:

With Ellie Newbauer it was extremely difficult to decide on which poem to include here – so many great ones, The Brink, Night Symphony, The Unlived Dream and so many more. But I chose God in Drag… and so it went with every poet. After reading these poems and stories many times, I typed up one or two to include here. Please excuse the typos the magic correction of the computer program, but that’s the way it goes.

Ellie Newbauer, God in Drag

Rose wearing velvet,

Willow in emerald green,

Zinnia flaunting gaudy orange,

Furs and feathers in every hue,

All are God in drag,

Hanging out at the Universal bar,

Inviting you to raise a glass

In celebration of His coming out party.

Charlene Ellington, Ever Changed

Inwardly traveling

Dark unmarked roads

With no map or compass

Not knowing

Where to go

Feeling mired under

In the swamp land

Of my thoughts

Thoroughly lost

For a while


The scary place let go

I walked out

Into sacred sunlight where

The Beloved Divine’s message

Of profound important

Waiting to

Give me understanding

To keep faith

Trust, listen

To inner guidance


I am ever changed

Maggie Chalifoux, Celebration of Life

I went to my sister’s “Celebration” naked, open to love, forgiveness and compassion. Knowing that there was heartache there for everyone: the heartache of the loss of the relationship that was and the relationship that was not. Wondering what will be now, and why things were the way they were. Why was I the way I was? I feel regret and sadness. At the same time, I saw the rightness in the way things had been. How could they have been different? The past was as it was and now it has gone. It is closed like a book. Everything now is new. I thank God for the doors that opened and are now closed, and for the new doors that will open.

Maggie Chalifoux, Cloud of Guilt


A flash of anger

Self righteous venom

Words spewed out

Striking their target

Causing the blood

That left us stained


My tongue unleashed

Unkind thoughtless words

Later I would know

I could have just left

No reason to bite

To further the harm

But no!

All reason devoured

By a moment of heat

I could not stop myself

Now the cloud

Of guilt shrouds

My days and nights

Arlene Enos, Because of You

I learned dreams can and do come true

I traveled the world with you

Holding hands all the way

I learned the beauty and joy of motherhood

Eventually being a grandmother and great grandmother

You taught our children to love me deeply.

We enjoyed endless hours of love making

You taught me to love my body always

Putting me first

I became strong and independent


I learned to budget and make everything work

to compromise and to stand on my own.

We lived in so many amazing places

Loving the moves and the adventures

You filled my wanderlust

You taught me to be diplomatic

Always believing in me


You loved me deeply, faithfully

And forever

My life is full

You encouraged my spontaneity

Willing to go wherever I wanted

Without question

You loved my cooking

Thanked me for every meal

And I learned to love cooking

You laughed at my jokes

You learned to dance because

I loved it so

We became one the dance floor

I miss our Navy life

Difficult at times but so incredibly

Exciting always

Thank you.

I depended on you

Now you depend on me

Our life has changed

So many lessons learned

Because of you I learned the Art of Acceptance

You prepared me for whatever is to come

Thank you most of all for getting me

Joyce Lindenmuth, Details

It’s all in the details

Finding joy

In the singing of birds

As you enter their world

Looking down

At the leaves lying dead on the ground

And suddenly seeing a tiny flower

Valiantly blooming

All by itself in the cold

It’s paying attention

That will open our heart in gratitude

It’s all in the details

Grace McCrowell, Morning

Crystals emanating from the bright circle

Hardens the silence

Shatters the darkness

Arlene Bice, Guy Arlen Morrison 1962-1988 – Seventh stanza

we drank, we ate

everyone had a story

about Guy

he was that kind of a kid

who became a man

And left.

Arlene Bice, Molting

So I shed my skin that I wore at the time

When realized it was not the real me

Picked up my house, left that unhealthy corner

Found where I belonged, who my people were

Would recognize them just by seeing

How to know I asked myself

But I didn’t answer me

The search began, my eyes peered into windows

Looked down every alley, talk, talk, talk

Until there was nothing left to say

I began to listen while my mind opened

Little by little, expanded, filled up

Without my notice an outer layer had formed

It looked quite alike with a tinge of difference

The call came inviting me to lunch

“Of course,” I replied “I’d love to”, I said

An inner glow showed through

Matching one that blossomed with me

As I listened, as I talked, I knew

No more searching needed

I molted and found home.

What if?