Summer 2010 • Vol. XXXII No. 3 Poetry |

Once

A girl ate ices in the red summer. Bees buzzed among the hydrangea, heavy as plums. Summer widened its lens. You would not believe how happy she was; her mother pulled her through the pool till her hair went soft. Below, cracks spread in the vinyl where her mother's long legs scissored; above, wet faces in the sun smiled . . . The home, adrift in sun, was square and clean with wine and apple pie; at dusk, lamps were lit, Vs of geese swept past, fresh sheets shivered on the laundry line, and as the nights grew crisp our souls unfolded. Then winter arrived. The parents bent over the daughter tucked in her bed . . . . Creaking under the cold, the old black walnut's roots spread beneath the snow. When spring came, the home had tilted into the tree's long, cool shadow. Nothing was the same again.

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Meghan O’Rourke, a poet and essayist, is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Sun In Days. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes, she teaches in the writing programs at NYU and Princeton.

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Dread

By Meghan O’Rourke

A girl ate ices in the red summer. Bees buzzed among the hydrangea, heavy as plums. Summer widened its lens. You would not believe how happy she was; her mother […]

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