the rotary dial

best new poetry in form

Weeds are not supposed to grow
but by degrees
some achieve a flower, although
no one sees.

From the September Issue


Royal Hotline, 1987

The Princess is believed to have suffered from bulimia nervosa, [which] afflicts millions of American women. –"Di's Private Battle," People Magazine, August 3, 1992

Soon, Princess Di, you'll lend this thing your name,
crowning a hushed disease with regal grace.
Beauty salons will buzz; women will claim
to know you. But for now I stuff my face
and then go toss my cookies at the throne
in secret. Are we sisters, who have yet
to learn this malady is fashion's clone?
And meanwhile, where's my image? I forget.

Maybe I left it by the forced-air dryer
tucked in a magazine, or by the sink
where a woman's hands massaged my scalp for hire.
Wait, here's a doctor's number. Do you think
he'll help close the two decades, plus or minus,
that I've been kneeling like Your Royal Highness?


A 2014 finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and 2013 semifinalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, Claudia Gary writes, edits, sings, and composes tonal chamber music and art songs. She is author of Humor Me (David Robert Books 2006) and several chapbooks. Her poems appear in anthologies such as Forgetting Home (Barefoot Muse Press 2013) and Villanelles (Everyman Press 2012), as well as in journals internationally. Her articles on health appear in The VVA Veteran and other magazines. For more information, see