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Poetry

Fall 2018 Contest Winner: Rebecca Dettorre

Rebecca DRebecca Dettorre currently lives in Hawthorne, Florida. She earned a BA in English from the University of Florida, an MA in public policy from the Ohio State University, and is working on an MPH from Ohio State. Last year, she resumed writing poetry, and is grateful for the encouragement from family and friends, including the madly talented and supportive community of writers in Columbus, Ohio (Writers’ Block) and Gainesville, Florida (Writers Alliance of Gainesville). She has been published in Women Speak and will be published in Bacopa Literary Review this fall.

Encounter

A day for woods tramping, logs lifted
to reveal snakes, hornet nest and beehives
admired, sifting sandy soil below upended trees
to search for chert arrowheads.

Early spring, thin long sleeves, the sun a warm crown
as we looked up at woodpeckers and flawless sky.
Afternoon, we chose a place to eat and rest,
leaning in to our silence.

Headlong she ran, stopping a few feet before our knees,
placid eyes, softly mottled, heedless, curious.
We faced this guest, the breeze
tumbling live oak leaves.

It brought our scent of light sweat, taste
of fruit in mouth and air, to her. We took
each other in; she turned her neck, then
followed the herd’s soundless admonition.

We were her first, the stillness
honored between us.

What If

We still share a small house with a great backyard:
irises, Lily to rescue from the roof, abundant loquat harvest,
skinks wriggling over ferns, banana tree that confounds us
with death each winter. We plan an outdoor shower but the garden
hose suffices when our blue bathroom is occupied by one of us.

We rearrange plants and switch curtains—white for yellow,
yellow for red, then back again—when the other’s not looking.
The hummingbirds love us, fluttering close to our sugary lips
on weekend mornings when we splurge on donuts.

Full moon lighting our patio just above the pine,
old magnolia giving more scent then blossoms,
grateful for the mother and child that sometime share
our house and the swing in the dogwood tree.

We drink endless cups of coffee and goblets of mint lemonade,
smoke cigarettes and talk, talk, talk. Grey days
we hide in a book until the pressure cooker’s scream
amounts to spicy beans. You have something in the oven,
eschewing recipe. I sauté garlic and tomato for pasta garnish.
Frieda and Lucy nap with heads one upon the other.
Frieda silently travels between our rooms, keeping vigil.
Lily knocks glass off your desk, scatters papers as she leaps
onto your bed, then curls at your hip. Dear old Lucy
is a puppy after a haircut, ear scratches and belly rubs.
Thrift store forays satisfy us with ill-fitting jeans held up
with studded-belt refugee from the punk rock scene
and threadbare velvet finery with heels from the seventies.

Azalea and plumbago cast pink and blue shadows, jasmine
eternally blooms. We discuss breasts ‘round our table
and friends feel welcome when they stop by and all we need
for a party is one more than us, sweet wine, maybe salty chips.

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