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Ellen June Wright

Ellen June Wright was born in England of West Indian parents and immigrated to the United States as a child. She taught high-school language arts in New Jersey for three decades before retiring. She has consulted on guides for three PBS poetry series. Her work was selected as The Missouri Review’s Poem of the Week in June 2021. She was a finalist in the Gulf Stream 2020 summer poetry contest and is a founding member of Poets of Color virtual poetry workshop and recently received a 2021 Pushcart Prize Nomination for poetry.

The Numbering of Friends

They came from all over the people I have met,
the loves I didn’t know I had, came like flakes

of early snow that November as I convalesced
having had to face the unavoidable truth that

this body was once again trying to take my life
and so I succumbed to the knife and making order

of my haphazard, order-less life just in case it was
my time to go, but then they came like early flakes

of snow, the people I have known but never counted
came with cards and gifts and food and flowers

and conversation not ruled by time
and the growing list of books to read,

and hugs and kisses and the hands to hold
and blessing to embrace. They filled my days

with love and shame to be the recipient of so much care,
more than I have ever known.

The numbering of friends was more than
I could bear like flakes of early snow

upon the evergreen bough weighed down
by beauty’s momentary manifestation.

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