Persimmon Tree

Persimmon Tree An Online Magazine of the Arts by Women Over Sixty.

Sue Leonard is the senior editor of the magazine and head of the editorial board. She retired in 2004 from teaching history and politics at an independent girls' school. Nan Gefen founded Persimmon Tree in 2007 and is its current publisher. She has published two nonfiction books, and her novel, Clear Lake, recently won the gold medal in general fiction in the IndieFab contest.... Editorial board member Kitty Cunningham retired in 2000 from her position as Head Librarian from the same independent girls' school at which Sue worked. She is the author of Conversations with a Dancer with Michael Ballard (St. Martin's Press, 1981). Editorial board member Natalie Levy describes her life in reverse: artist, legal recruiter, lawyer, mother, student, little kid. Editorial board member Elizabeth Zimmer writes about the arts, mostly dance, and teaches writing all over the place, most recently at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. Editorial board member Jean Zorn teaches property law, and is Interim Director of Administrative Services, Title IX Coordinator and Chief Diversity Officer at CUNY School of Law. Editorial board member Gena Raps is a concert pianist whose new recording of the late piano works of Brahms was released last year to stunning reviews in Audiophile and in Fanfare. She is on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in Manhattan. Editorial board member Wendy Barker has published five collections of poetry and three chapbooks, most recently, Nothing Between Us, a novel in prose poems. She is Poet-in-Residence and the Pearl LeWinn Endowed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Editorial board member Marcia Freedman is a member of the founding Editorial Board of Persimmon Tree. She has published a political memoir, Exile in the Promised Land, an account of the establishment of second-wave feminism in Israel and her experience as a Member of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament).

Mission: Persimmon Tree, an online magazine, is a showcase for the creativity and talent of women over sixty. Too often older women's artistic work is ignored or disregarded, and only those few who are already established receive the attention they deserve. Yet many women are at the height of their creative abilities in their later decades and have a great deal to contribute. Persimmon Tree is committed to bringing this wealth of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art to a broader audience, for the benefit of all. We invite you to submit to Persimmon Tree. Please follow the instructions on the magazine's submissions page at http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/submissions/

"The ad in the newspaper said: English Country Garden. Specializing in the restoration and creation of imaginative lands...
06/06/2019
An English Country Garden | Persimmon Tree

"The ad in the newspaper said: English Country Garden. Specializing in the restoration and creation of imaginative landscapes and gardens. Visions of magenta and green and yellow sprang up in Delia’s mind: purple stocky things behind ochre sunburst things, a wild array of eye-popping, rambling color. She put down the paper and called."
-- from Melinda Burns' "An English Country Garden" in our spring issue.

Read the full piece here: https://www.persimmontree.org/v2/spring-2019/an-english-country-garden/

The ad in the newspaper said: English Country Garden. Specializing in the restoration and creation of imaginative landscapes and gardens. Visions of magenta and green and yellow sprang up in Delia’s mind: purple stocky things behind ochre sunburst things, a wild array of eye-popping, rambling colo...

05/31/2019
Erik Bruhn

Erik Bruhn

Erik Bruhn and Carla Fracci in the Balcony Scene (Romeo and Juliet)
September 22, 1967
Choreography - Erik Bruhn

"they left early this morning we woke up in the cold darkness – we heard the trucks the cars the muffled voices – we...
05/27/2019
Forbidden Elegy | Persimmon Tree

"they left early this morning we woke up in the cold darkness – we heard the trucks the cars the muffled voices – we looked out the window we couldn’t believe it – all of them – they were all leaving, sneaking out before dawn, just running, running for their miserable lives those dogs those --- how could they leave us here? it is so cold like ice in the veins and they’re leaving – took the dogs, too, or else shot or poisoned them – daylight will tell on that one"
-- from Judith Haran's "Forbidden Elegy" from our spring issue.

View the full piece here: https://www.persimmontree.org/v2/spring-2019/forbidden-elegy/

they left early this morning we woke up in the cold darkness – we heard the trucks the cars the muffled voices – we looked out the window we couldn’t believe it – all of them – they were all leaving, sneaking out before dawn, just running, running for their miserable lives those dogs those...

"Well then, this is my witness. “Witness,” you know that word? I’m testifying. No, not like in court. You’re not...
05/17/2019
Play Pretties | Persimmon Tree

"Well then, this is my witness.


“Witness,” you know that word? I’m testifying. No, not like in court. You’re not from these parts, I forget. You can be a witness for other things, you know.

Why do I think people’re interested in my art? Well, lands, honey, you’re the expert. That’s why you’re making this movie, ain’t it – isn’t it? I do it because I have to. If other folks see something in it, that’s for them to say. I guess if they’re putting my play pretties in a museum and making a movie about them, other folks must see something in them besides twigs and scraps and buttons. I guess they see my people too. David, Jonathan, Jacob, and the others."

-- from Carol J. Luther's "Play Pretties" in our spring issue.

Read the full piece here: https://www.persimmontree.org/v2/spring-2019/play-pretties/

Well then, this is my witness.   “Witness,” you know that word? I’m testifying. No, not like in court. You’re not from these parts, I forget. You can be a witness for other things, you know. Why do I think people’re interested in my art? Well, lands, honey, you’re the expert. That’s w...

"My husband Jerry and I found a “disabled parking” spot right next to the door of the rustic 1940s lodge in the Oakl...
04/27/2019
West Coast Swinger | Persimmon Tree

"My husband Jerry and I found a “disabled parking” spot right next to the door of the rustic 1940s lodge in the Oakland hills. “Hors d’oeuvres,” the anniversary Evite had promised, “cocktails, a swing dance lesson, live music and more dancing into the night!”


For most of our thirty-year marriage, this would have been the perfect event for us. I’d loved dancing with Jerry – his erect carriage, the way he lifted his arms when the music started, created a frame, and invited me in. But in the last few years, congestive heart failure had left him breathless, peripheral neuropathy made him stumbly, and at dinners with friends, often he fell asleep. When we met, the seventeen-year difference in our ages seemed unremarkable, but now, the gulf between my healthy sixty-five and his frail eighty-two felt vast."

-- from Audrey Ferber's "West Coast Swinger" in our spring issue.

Read the full piece here: https://www.persimmontree.org/v2/spring-2019/west-coast-swinger/

My husband Jerry and I found a “disabled parking” spot right next to the door of the rustic 1940s lodge in the Oakland hills. “Hors d’oeuvres,” the anniversary Evite had promised, “cocktails, a swing dance lesson, live music and more dancing into the night!”   For most of our thirty-y...

"It’s that in-between time of the evening. The sky is still white, not yet ready for the show, the great swirls of ora...
04/17/2019
Letting Go | Persimmon Tree

"It’s that in-between time of the evening. The sky is still white, not yet ready for the show, the great swirls of orange, purple and pink. It’s the heart of summer, that period when the minutes of light slip away incrementally. The breath-stripping temperatures of mid-afternoon have abated. The woman waters the roses, assorted pots of flowers, then the tomatoes. The larger garden will have to wait."
-- from Kaelin McGee Shipley's "Letting Go" in our spring issue.

Read the full piece here: https://www.persimmontree.org/v2/spring-2019/letting-go/

It’s that in-between time of the evening. The sky is still white, not yet ready for the show, the great swirls of orange, purple and pink. It’s the heart of summer, that period when the minutes of light slip away incrementally. The breath-stripping temperatures of mid-afternoon have abated. The ...

04/09/2019

"You don’t think much about it until you’re getting into the truck to go home and realize you don’t have to ask, “Are you okay to drive?” And then you realize that you have never been to an event together where alcohol was served and he didn’t drink. For twenty-one years, you have expected to be the designated driver."
-- from Sue Fagalde Lick's "When You Can't Even Get Drunk" in our spring issue.

Click here to read more:
https://www.persimmontree.org/v2/spring-2019/when-you-cant-even-get-drunk/

"This winter, my father, Samuel, who is ninety years old and not allowed alcohol in any form, did a very foolish thing. ...
03/30/2019
Disgust (or What We Do for Love) | Persimmon Tree

"This winter, my father, Samuel, who is ninety years old and not allowed alcohol in any form, did a very foolish thing. On New Year’s Eve, as he and his wife were celebrating the passing of the old year the way most people do, with food and liquor, he finished off the drinks his guests had carelessly left unattended: somebody’s scotch and soda snatched off the coffee table, a vodka and tonic swilled when no one was looking."
-- from Myriam Chapman's "Disgust (or What We Do for Love)" in our spring issue.

Read the full piece here: http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/spring-2019/digust-or-what-we-do-for-love/

This winter, my father, Samuel, who is ninety years old and not allowed alcohol in any form, did a very foolish thing. On New Year’s Eve, as he and his wife were celebrating the passing of the old year the way most people do, with food and liquor, he finished off the drinks his guests …

"The medium, an athletic-looking, bald man in his early forties, loped long-legged across the sunlit floors of his Manha...
02/21/2019
Medium Well – A True Adventure in Genealogy | Persimmon Tree

"The medium, an athletic-looking, bald man in his early forties, loped long-legged across the sunlit floors of his Manhattan office as if anxious to meet me. He had a friendly scatter of freckles over his nose, below his kind blue eyes. I noted the immaculate crease in his linen trousers and the way his shirtsleeves drew back from his wrists. He smiled. I smiled too, hesitated, and then took off my sunglasses. I leaned back on the white leather couch, shifted my legs yet again – left over right, rather than right over left – and wondered if he’d ask about my black eye and the mauve bruise encompassing my chin. Should I offer an explanation? Did he already know? Perhaps, even now, he could see a cartoon flashing over my head. The day before yesterday. Early twilight in my red brick Philly neighborhood. Me, losing a shoe. Crumpling down hard on a tree-root-upheaved sidewalk.

Cancelling the appointment had been unthinkable, however. A rabbi I knew and respected had recommended him. He’d made the same trip after the death of his daughter. “No guarantees,” he’d said, “But I’d go again.”
-- from Susanne Dutton's "Medium Well" in our Winter issue.

Read the full piece here: http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/winter-2019/medium-well-genealogy/

The medium, an athletic-looking, bald man in his early forties, loped long-legged across the sunlit floors of his Manhattan office as if anxious to meet me. He had a friendly scatter of freckles over his nose, below his kind blue eyes. I noted the immaculate crease in his linen trousers and the way....

"My jaw dropped and my blood pressure soared when I spotted an article in a women’s magazine: Pretty Little Lies We Te...
02/13/2019
Don't Tell Hubby | Persimmon Tree

"My jaw dropped and my blood pressure soared when I spotted an article in a women’s magazine: Pretty Little Lies We Tell Our Husbands About What We Bought. How yesterday! Who still thinks this way? Why would a woman offer this archaic advice in the midst of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements?

I was about to fire off a comment deriding the author for preaching such sexist pap when I had a flashback. Unlike the examples given in the article, my little lie was not to conceal extravagant indulgences from hubby but the unexpected expense of emergency surgery for Pretzel, our newly adopted, sweet little mixed breed puppy. Still, the principle was the same. I knew my husband would croak if I’d spent $1000 on surgery for a puppy we’d found at the pound."
-- from Barbara Rady Kazdan's "Don't Tell Hubby" in our Winter Issue.

Read the entire piece here: http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/winter-2019/dont-tell-hubby/

My jaw dropped and my blood pressure soared when I spotted an article in a women’s magazine: Pretty Little Lies We Tell Our Husbands About What We Bought. How yesterday! Who still thinks this way? Why would a woman offer this archaic advice in the midst of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements? ....

"As soon as I pluck the pink message slip from my box, I know. There is no other reason why Cleo would call me.When she ...
01/25/2019
Boundaries | Persimmon Tree

"As soon as I pluck the pink message slip from my box, I know. There is no other reason why Cleo would call me.

When she answers, I chatter as though her news will be different if I talk fast enough. But Cleo hasn’t been a therapist for twenty years for nothing and she interrupts me gently, but firmly. “Nell died last night.” She is quiet then. She and Nell were both comfortable with silences. A few times I had spent most of my private session with Nell, my therapist, in silence."
-- from Mary Zelinka's "Boundaries" in our winter issue.

Read the full post here: http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/winter-2019/boundaries/

How might your life have been different if, as a young woman there had been a place for you … when you had feelings of darkness?  ~ Judith Duerk, Circle of Stones As soon as I pluck the pink message slip from my box, I know. There is no other reason why Cleo would call …

"I wake up with a start, face to face with René Descartes’ unsmiling ghost. His broad features, oily hair, and white ...
01/13/2019
Descartes Appears, We Talk | Persimmon Tree

"I wake up with a start, face to face with René Descartes’ unsmiling ghost. His broad features, oily hair, and white collar float before me in an ensemble more Dutch than French. He commands my space. He is insubstantially solid."
-- From "Descartes Appears, We Talk" by Sally Hess in our Winter 2019.

Read the full piece here:
http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/winter-2019/descartes-appears-we-talk/

I wake up with a start, face to face with René Descartes’ unsmiling ghost. His broad features, oily hair, and white collar float before me in an ensemble more Dutch than French. He commands my space. He is insubstantially solid.   I’m not intimidated – we’ve been speaking frequently over t...

The window was open just enough to let in the cool night air. The breeze did nothing to diminish the heat of my unrest, ...
01/06/2019
The Way of the Sparrow | Persimmon Tree

The window was open just enough to let in the cool night air. The breeze did nothing to diminish the heat of my unrest, however. Once again I was angry at myself for not speaking up.

Earlier that day I’d watched Paul heft his bulk up a ladder, reach into the corner of the porch eaves, and grab a partially built nest.

“Don’t,” I whispered, but knew he wouldn’t heed my plea even if he heard me.

He flung the nest to the ground then descended, muttering, “Stupid birds.”

-- from Diana L. Walters' The Way of the Sparrow in our winter issue, now live.

Read the full piece here:
http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/winter-2019/the-way-of-the-sparrow/

The window was open just enough to let in the cool night air. The breeze did nothing to diminish the heat of my unrest, however. Once again I was angry at myself for not speaking up. Earlier that day I’d watched Paul heft his bulk up a ladder, reach into the corner of the porch …

"Tricia and Angelo were living in sin. I jest. My thinking wasn’t that hidebound, although my life did appear to be pr...
12/26/2018
Happiness Is … | Persimmon Tree

"Tricia and Angelo were living in sin. I jest. My thinking wasn’t that hidebound, although my life did appear to be progressing along traditional lines. It was the early ’70s and no one could deny the upheaval in attitudes that came in the wake of the ’60s, not even such a person as myself – young, striving to deny my gayness, and contemplating a vocation to the priesthood.

But back to Tricia and Angelo. They occupied the apartment above mine in a rehabbed, eight-apartment building on Sullivan Street in the Village. Her hair was as geometric as a well- trimmed hedge; his was artfully arranged over a bald spot. (Even then I noticed hair.) I’d been up to their place to look around the day I moved in. They were obviously pleased with how they had managed to make a basic studio into an artsy yet cozy love nest."
- from "Happiness Is..." by Barbara McGillicuddy Bolton in our new winter issue.

Read the full piece here:
http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/winter-2019/happiness-is/

Tricia and Angelo were living in sin. I jest. My thinking wasn’t that hidebound, although my life did appear to be progressing along traditional lines. It was the early ’70s and no one could deny the upheaval in attitudes that came in the wake of the ’60s, not even such a person as myself – ...

Our new winter issue is online.Once again topics and themes like love, loss and domestic resistance appear in many forms...
12/22/2018
Persimmon Tree | Fall 2018 | A Magazine of the Arts by and for Women Over Sixty

Our new winter issue is online.

Once again topics and themes like love, loss and domestic resistance appear in many forms (these are important concerns at our age after all). This Winter issue has a less common one: birds appear in Fiction, Art and Poetry.

But NOT in Philosophy. That piece by Sally Hess is sui generis.

We have yet another poetry contest, this time from poets from the Central States, curated by Alice Friman; what talent you all have. Short Takes pieces say au revoir to an unlikely mix of subjects.

Please do not miss the Editor’s Page where we bring our recently departed Linda Boldt back to us. She is reading a touching short story she wrote a few months before she died.

Finally, there is always a reason to visit the Arts Mart or place an ad at [email protected], especially in this season. Hurry up and shop.

http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/

A Magazine of the Arts by and for Women Over Sixty. It's a literary journal with creative and political writing and a short story and poetry magazine.

"The beginning of that July in Arkansas was really hot. We were all moving slow. The word languid comes to mind. I was d...
11/26/2018
AC | Persimmon Tree

"The beginning of that July in Arkansas was really hot. We were all moving slow. The word languid comes to mind. I was driving to work when I got a phone call.

Now let me back up a minute to say that horses have been a part of my life since I was a child. Sometimes I think that some humans are placed here on earth just to take care of the horses. Many of the horses I know seem to share that opinion. And I want to tell you that a horse is a big animal. In a way a horse feels too big to die. Especially when the horse is a friend who has shared so much of life with its family. AC is such a horse. He is a big horse and a good friend. He has carried various members of my family over jumps, along trails, to horse shows, always pulling it off with confidence and grace. He is that kind of horse. He has heart."
-- from Lynn Taylor's "AC" in our fall issue, online now:
http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/fall-2018/ac/

The beginning of that July in Arkansas was really hot. We were all moving slow. The word languid comes to mind. I was driving to work when I got a phone call. Now let me back up a minute to say that horses have been a part of my life since I was a child. …

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