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Laura Cherry



When we woke to see the globe willow

had shed its sticks across the grass,

we knew the spring winds had come

and gone without the rain.

A willow wand may work for dowsing,

but these dead twigs only clog the mower.

So we set to gathering and cleared the lawn

by breakfast, building a bonfire-shaped tower

of branches, needing only a match. Not

that we’d do that. Not with these dry weeds

just waiting to catch.





Nautical Motel, Hampton Beach (ask for Richard)


I microwaved a china mug of water

for coffee, catching a bit of quiet


in this low-ceilinged room with industrial-

strength carpet, cabinets made of leftover


paneling, wobbly Formica table – real

mid-century, a fortune on eBay – and TV


a smudge on the far wall. All

that can sag, sags, while outside


the stoop-sitting holiday partyers

lift their voices over the engines


from the biker bar two doors down. The cup

warms my knees. There must be ocean here.





Horoscope                  for my mother 


Walking the split-rail fence line, crushing

mint and clover underfoot, she’s found

the clearest spot to catch the sunset:

hilltop, break in the trees, uncut silence

for the moment. Not that sunset answers

any residual questions, but it gilds them

like the rim of a wine glass, convincing her

to tip it up again. Sunset’s not a time

for hard truths. Those come a while later

when the drink is gone, the room is dark,

the sheets are cold. Still, the view from here

makes her think the light will last a little longer

and maybe there’s a choice of pathways down.


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