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When a friend says her youngest just left
for a job in Manhattan,
I think of my girl on the verge
of middle school, the necessary
journey every morning.
I’ll stand at the corner
as the bus yawns open its doors
to deliver her into its chaos
of warmth and noise
where I cannot follow,
the spool between us spinning
and spinning, unrelenting
rotation, the thread
growing longer and longer
like a scarf from a magician’s hat
until I can no longer see her from where I stand.

– Andrea Potos’ collection of poems, Yaya’s Cloth, was published by Iris Press in 2007 and received an Outstanding Achievement Award in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Women’s Review of Books, Poetry East, Southern Poetry Review, CALYX Journal, Blue Unicorn, and The Comstock Review.

Elegy for Us

I scrubbed the floors though it was useless—
the windows open to the March air,
the trees with their sad pregnant look, red
bud, the pavements littered with detritus of
winds, a breeze warm and scented with
garbage. The water turned the color of
coal, a gray tinged with specks of black,
the suds rivered and pooled across the pitted
soft wood floors. I could see where you
had thrown the coffee cup against the wall.
You slept past noon; you always
slept. Later, the voices would come out and
I would remember how you shifted in
sleep, your face slack as a stoppered gun.
Where had you gone? In a dream I had
those years, we were living in a cardboard
box on our own corner. Every morning I carved
out windows, propped up walls, filled
bowls with day-old bread from the
Italian bakery. I think now of the games
of children—the vast and terrible forests,
the curious intentness of their faces as they
move around the small speckled seeds or stones.

– Sheila Black is the Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Her poems have appeared in Diode, Copper Nickel, LitPot Review, DMQ Review, Willow Springs, Poet Lore, Ellipsis, Blackbird, The Pedestal, and Puerto Del Sol. Black’s first book, House of Bone, was published by CustomWords Press in 2007. Her second book, Love/Iraq, is forthcoming from CustomWords Press in November 2009.

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