Diane K. Martin

Others & Kents
October 23, 2018 Martin Diane K.


They stopped the car on the crest of Coleman Valley Road to show his sister and her husband the Pacific view.

He spoke of his first time in California in the seventies; he had driven out with a friend and stayed with two San Francisco girls whose dope brownies got him all the way to Los Angeles.

The sister told of hitchhiking in Bavaria with her first husband. A kind old couple gave them dinner, wine, and an enormous feather bed to sleep on.

Her new spouse matched tales of welcome: the Greek couple he and his ex talked with on the train insisted they come to their island. The couples sat in the island café; every time the retsina was gone, their hosts brought out another bottle.

Now the California woman recounted meeting an Ethan Hawke look-alike on the train, Notes from Underground in his back pocket, how she (no Julie Delpy) dallied a day (for what?) in the Vienna youth hostel.

The four got into the car, driving silently past forty-five years and a half dozen sheep.




Dolores is sitting on the curb, dismantling Kent Micronite filters. She inhales the diesel bus exhaust and puts a butt to her lips. She’s got 40¢ to buy a pack of Kents for Mother at the store at Yonkers and Alida. Grandma gives her pennies to buy a pretzel. Father gives her a handful of change to buy the Times. She forgets to give the extra change back. She has a quarter she found on the sidewalk. She will buy herself a pack. The man at Alida won’t ask.

Dolores knows better than to smoke in the bedroom where her sister Karen curls up in the kneehole of the desk at night. Karen would tell on her.

Even Mother isn’t allowed to smoke inside the house, but she does after Uncle B. visits. She grabs the glass ashtray full of butts and goes into the bathroom. When Father comes home, he slaps it out of her hand. He does it for her own good.

Diane K. Martin’s work has appeared in Plume, American Poetry Review, Field, Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, New England Review, Tin House, ZYZZYVA, and many other journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets. Her poems have received a Pushcart Special Mention, won second place in the Nimrod Pablo Neruda prize, and won the 2009 poetry prize from Smartish Pace. Her collection, Conjugated Visits, a National Poetry Series finalist, was published in 2010 by Dream Horse Press. Her second collection, Hue and Cry, will be published in September, 2019 by MadHat Press. After thirty-six years in San Francisco, Diane moved to Sonoma, California, where she currently lives with her photographer husband and her dog.