The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton

Ocean Breeze Sonnet


The health care workers line up to smoke
in front of Ocean Breeze on Dixie Highway.
Who can blame them, stuck inside all day
with aging baby boomers who might blow
a gasket, shaking their fists—sundown
syndrome. They’ve just changed the clocks,
set back time so everyone can gain a little
life, but the poor beach down the street
is thinning like Sylvester’s hair. The waves
encroach like death. Soon there’ll be no sand,
no towers filled with folks from Great Neck
and Totowa who came here to die warm.
The health care workers will be glad they didn’t
quit, their cigarette tips sending small flares.



Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton

Second Amendment Sonnet


As I drove back from Publix, I heard a shot.
Unloading my groceries, I saw the dent
beside my Gun Control Means Using Both Hands
sticker, above my adorable Choose Life plate.
I needed to teach the shooter a lesson
before my Star Spangled Ice Cream melted,
before my homeschoolers looked up from their
devices, so I retraced my trip and guess what?
Those little devils scattered as I emerged
from my F-150. “Not so brave now,” I hollered
to the band of BB gun brandishers running
toward the greyhound track like bandits.
They had to be afraid of the Kimber Ultra
I fired into the sky to make my point.



Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton

Anti(dis)establishmentarianism Sonnet


When Key West passed its symbolic resolution
in support of same-sex marriage in 2004, I knew
what was next. My lover would want a minister,
a cake, the whole shebang. I was a happy outcast
from the legal noise and noose of wedlock. I thought
I was safe as long as I lived in Florida, state of
restrictive laws: no women allowed to parachute
on Sunday; no men allowed in strapless gowns.
Once upon a time, I was fellonius and free as a
pelican brigade, I was endangered as a ghost orchid.
But now I’m registered at Bed Bath and Beyond,
fussing over a seating chart. What is marriage,
you say, if not for the brave, and what is love if not
for all? Please pass me the gown and the parachute.




DENISE DUHAMEL's most recent book of poetry is Scald (Pittsburgh, 2017).  Blowout (Pittsburgh, 2013) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other titles include Ka-Ching! (Pittsburgh, 2009); Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005); Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001); The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999); and Kinky (Orhisis, 1997).  She and Maureen Seaton co-authored CAPRICE (Collaborations: Collected, Uncollected, and New) (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). Duhamel is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenhiem Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.  She is a professor at Florida International University in Miami.


MAUREEN SEATON has authored numerous poetry collections, both solo and collaborative—most recently, Tit, with Blue Guitar, a chapbook from Dancing Girl Press (2016), and Caprice: Collected, Uncollected, and New Collaborations, with Denise Duhamel (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). Her awards include the Iowa Poetry Prize, Audre Lorde Award, Lambda Literary Award, an NEA fellowship, and the Pushcart Prize. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Miami.



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