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[Poetry] Three Poems by LA Felleman

Updated: Mar 5

Impressionable Age


Our clan's picnic lunch wrapped in Wonder Bread

the ham sandwiches she spread, Granpa gifted

everything to the Wintu children


Mom says the memory is suspect

baby in backseat bassinet

my inaugural family vacation


I say it is indelible

even an infant can perceive

values becoming visible

Dad's Big Breakfast

It begins raw

offering of appeasement

sausage, bacon, ham

cheese, eggs, hash

picnic table cleared of new snow

cooking on a Coleman stove

wearing gloves, his black down vest

outside our family tent

June in Medicine Bow

his idea of vacation

To Adapt is Human


My buddy dives to my side

concerned I am not breathing

beginners do that sometimes

unconsciously distrust their training


I learned to breathe underwater

in the clear of a local Y pool

an adaptation tested

in a gravel pit west of town

            sinking to a kneel

            slipping off the tank

            sun a winter reflection

            so far from my murky depth


I’m certified to be here

hovering over bleached coral reefs

whitened by distress whenever

oxygen supplies deteriorate


My breath comes in sips

my breath goes in flows

with a distance swimmer’s capacity

to subsist within inhospitable

            pressed by atmospheres

            I paused at intervals

pressured per square inch

I paused to vent excess


On land, innovation reassures it can cure all

I am not holding my breath


LA is a financial analyst at the University of Iowa.  Before that, she was a seminary professor.  Prior to that, she was a pastor.  She credits the Free Generative Writing Workshops, the Midwest Writing Center, and workshops offered through Iowa City Poetry with her development as a poet.  Her poetry recently appeared in Literary Forest Magazine, Feral Journal, and Skyway Journal.  To give back to the writing community, she organizes a writers open mic at the public library (or via Zoom during pandemics) and serves on the advisory council of Iowa City Poetry.  She is the author of the chapbook The Length of a Clenched Fist (Finishing Line Press) and blogs at


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