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Laura Grace Weldon


Laura Grace Weldon has published two poetry collections, Blackbird (Grayson 2019) and Tending (Aldrich 2013). She was named Ohio Poet of the Year for 2019. She’s written poems on the soles of children’s feet and painted poems on beehives but her work appears in more conventional places such as Verse Daily, One: Jacar Press, Neurology, and Amsterdam Quarterly. Laura works as a book editor and teaches community-based writing workshops.


Sometimes I smell cigarette smoke
faint but persistent
in our home where no one smokes
and I say over here, can you smell it
only to be assured
it’s my perception alone.
Maybe it’s a visitation
from Grampy whose face,
crooked after jaw cancer,
was unreadable, whose smoke
often got me punished
for rolling down car windows.

Now the smell recalls his shirt pockets
where a lighter formed a ghostly rectangle,
except when he left it on a low table
and Grammy whispered Lucius, the girls!
Recalls how he called us to the back porch
at the rumble of an approaching train,
turning himself back into a boy till it passed.
As soon as I think to say thank you
the scent is gone, like everything
we are glad to have back even briefly:
wrinkled fingers making a snapdragon talk,
firefly alight on an old man’s palm.


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