Logo, MacQueen's Quinterly
Listed at Duotrope
MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 15: Sept. 2022
Prose Poem: 209 words
By Linda Nemec Foster

My Husband Disguised as a Stranger in a Kraków Bar


All the men sit by themselves at small booths that hide the contour of their bodies. Only their pale faces are partly visible because of the cigarette smoke, dark glasses, and casual hand covering a mouth, a left cheek, a sullen forehead. All of them look away, as if they want to be somewhere else. But not him, the man closest to the camera’s eye, the man who looks like my husband disguised as a stranger. He stares straight at me. He knows that I know he knows. Something about his past. Exactly how he got that too-perfect nose, the blue-gray eyes when his family’s gene pool said brown. What is the legend behind why he parts his hair on the left? What is the great mystery behind why his beard grew in red when the hair on his head was blond then brown then ash—growing from baby to boy to man? I imagine a life for him: a professor of philosophy at Jagiellonian University, parents dead, nicely furnished upper flat on a side street near the Market Square. And no wife in sight. Not until I snap the picture and his stare matches my own.



—From the author’s forthcoming book Bone Country, to be released in March 2023 by Cornerstone Press (University of Wisconsin).

Linda Nemec Foster
Issue 15, September 2022

is the author of 12 published collections of poetry, including Amber Necklace from Gdansk (a finalist for the Ohio Book Award in Poetry; Louisiana State University Press, 2001), The Lake Michigan Mermaid with Anne-Marie Oomen (2019 Michigan Notable Book; Wayne State University Press, 2018), The Elusive Heroine: My Daughter Lost in Magritte (Cervena Barva Press, 2018), Talking Diamonds (New Issues Press, 2009), and Listen to the Landscape (Eerdmans Publishing, 2006). Her most recent poetry book, The Blue Divide, was published in 2021 by New Issues Press. And her next collection, Bone Country, is forthcoming in 2023.

Ms. Foster’s work has appeared in more than 350 magazines and journals such as The Georgia Review, New American Writing, Nimrod, North American Review, Quarterly West, Paterson Literary Review, Witness, and Verse Daily. Her poems have also been published in anthologies in the U.S. and Great Britain, and translated in Europe. Collaborations with visual artists, musicians, and composers have brought her poetry to new venues and audiences. It has been exhibited in museums and galleries, set to music, produced for the stage, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Ms. Foster has won several Editor’s Choice Awards in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest sponsored by The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College and Paterson Literary Review. She has been honored with awards from the Arts Foundation of Michigan, ArtServe Michigan, the National Writer’s Voice, and the Academy of American Poets. She is the founder of the Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College, and was the first Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan (serving from 2003-2005). In 2015, she was honored by the Dyer-Ives Foundation for her poetry and advocacy of the literary arts in Michigan. In the fall of 2019, she was a guest lecturer in contemporary American poetry and literature at the University of Bielsko-Biala in Poland. In the summer of 2022, Ms. Foster was awarded second place in the Fish Flash Fiction Prize, with publication of her story “On the Other Side of the World” in the Fish Anthology 2022. This international honor also included an invitation to read at the West Cork Literary Festival in Ireland.

Author’s website: www.lindanemecfoster.com

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Featured Guest: Linda Nemec Foster interviewed by Tim Green for Rattlecast 157 (29 August 2022)

Personal Diary: Same Day, Same Month, Different Year, microfiction by Ms. Foster in Coal Hill Review (Issue 29, Spring 2022)

Copyright © 2019-2023 by MacQueen’s Quinterly and by those whose works appear here.
Logo and website designed and built by Clare MacQueen; copyrighted © 2019-2023.
⚡   Please report broken links to: MacQuinterly [at] gmail [dot] com   ⚡

At MacQ, we take your privacy seriously. We do not collect, sell, rent, or exchange your name and email address, or any other information about you, to third parties for marketing purposes. When you contact us, we will use your name and email address only in order to respond to your questions, comments, etc.