Today's poem is by Debra Nystrom


Afternoons, Grandma sent us inside,
but we could never nap. Below the hot

bedroom, stairs sank to a dirt cellar,
crumbling walls that made us wonder

if the house would fall in. Twisted
onions under us, beet-jars, mud-smell dark

of a grave, scratch of mice we'd been told
might crawl up inside our dresses. Hours

dreaming without any rest, sticky in our
thin cottons, till she'd call Linda— Debbie—

Lois— through the hazy curtain, wanting us
to come out again, pick beans or lettuce

from the garden, or carry pails down to
the chokecherry bushes by the stock dam.

We'd follow cattle-paths below the bluff
and back up, then sneak right past her

at the clothesline, climb to the loft where we
could look out beyond the windbreak, across

the fields, watch for truck or tractor, cloud
of dust disturbing the air, sign of the men.

Copyright © 2009 Debra Nystrom All rights reserved
from Northwest Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Support Verse Daily
Sponsor Verse Daily!

Home    Archives   Web Monthly Features    About Verse Daily   FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily   Publications Noted & Received  

Copyright © 2002-2009 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved