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 has been published in Plume, American Poetry Review, Field, Harvard Review, Kenyon Review, Rhino, River Styx, and many other journals and anthologies. One of her poems won a prize from Smartish Pace, another placed second in Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Competition, and another received a Pushcart Special Mention first collection, Conjugated Visits, was a National Poetry Series finalist and was published by Dream Horse Press. Her second collection, Hue & Cry, debuted in spring 2020 from MadHat Press.