April 16 – Judith McKenzie

Lorenzo Judges

Welcome to National Poetry Month and Gyroscope Review’s month-long celebration of poets – and their diverse Writing Assistants. Enjoy the audio/video works by previous Gyroscope Review poets and be sure to check out the Author and fun Writing Assistant Bio at the end of each NPM poet post. Don’t forget to tag the poet on Social Media and let them know you enjoyed their work!

At No Time Soon

At No Time Soon

Someday, not soon, we’ll have a house with a wide porch
      and a ceiling of white-painted boards above solid
      square pillars at the front rail -
a place of cool shade during hot mountain days. When we 
     find that place, not soon, I’ll paint the broad boards
     of its floor a pale grey,

like the clouds over the Rockies in the springtime, or the
     soft fur of the kitten that died in my hands one
     summer when I was too young

 to know the bite of betrayal clothed as simple disregard.
     Grief for that kitten wrapped around me, I walked
      to my parent’s porch, my

stockinged feet slipping down the grey boards to comfort 
    and the safety of the deep-cushioned chairs 
    in the far corner, dark and cool

and as always and always in that place, the sense which may 
     someday (not soon) return to my heart that there
     are places safe from the evil

in the street, safe from the ones who haunt the marble halls 
     where the pain we feel is just a card in a deck 
     stacked against us

safe from the ones who cannot see the way that some
      moments shimmer, when fingers stroke the fur of
      a motionless kitten,

setting it to rest down in soil, alone and very deep and
     dark, without ever having had the
     chance to breathe.  

- “At No Time Soon,” published in Meat for Tea, The Valley Review in its September 2023 issue.


She can (and very frequently does) snort while she is purring – a  (skill? tendency? crowd-pleasing-act?) …. habit that has gained her a bit of local celebrity. She has half a mustache, half a set of whiskers, and absolutely full sweetness, as well as an affinity for (which has morphed into a rock-solid-claim for) stretching out over the top of my laptop while I am trying to work. Her name is Meme, which is pronounced MAY-may, and is taken from the Oshindonga word for a respected woman, NOT, (LISTEN CLOSELY…ABSOLUTELY NOT) from the term used for visual/verbal online postings. 

As a kitten, she was abandoned at an empty house, and brought to me by a family member, on the condition I gave that I would keep her (and her brother, Scamp) only long enough to find them a home. That was twelve years ago.

How does she help me? 

She loves me.

She values my love of her.

She reminds me of the importance of claiming your power as a “she.”


Judith Mikesch-McKenzie is a teacher, writer, actor, and producer living in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. She has traveled widely but is always drawn to the Rocky Mountains as one place that feeds her soul. Writing is her home. She has recently placed/published in two short-story contests, and her poems have been published in Pine Row Press, Halcyone Literary Review, Plainsongs Magazine, Closed Eye Open, Wild Roof Journal, Cathexis Northwest Press, Meat for Tea Valley Review, and over 30 others. She is a wee bit of an Irish curmudgeon, but her friends seem to like that about her. 

Don’t forget to read the Spring 2024 Issue of Gyroscope Review.

NPM 2024 Poets

April 1 – Cal Freeman

April 2 – Susanna Lang

April 3 – Marion Brown

April 4 – Melissa Huff

April 5 – Elaine Sorrentino

April 6 – Alison Stone

April 7 – Alexandra Fössinger

April 8 – Laurie Kuntz

April 9 – Dick Westheimer

April 10 – Wendy McVicker

April 11 – J.I. Kleinberg

April 12 – Ellen Austin-Li

April 13 – D. Dina Friedman

April 14 – Connie Post

April 15 – Georgina Key

April 16 – Judith McKenzie