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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 4, December 2017
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Christine Shook
New York City, New York, USA


November

My sister is a persistent shadow that follows me as I walk through the park, photographing the end of autumn.

Her song
echoes in my heart
she lies dead
curled up beside
a careless husband

A handful of poplar leaves cling to their stems when they should have fallen, and branches of a sapling have sleeves of brown petals.

I tear off
the remaining leaves
holding them
between my palms
to save for later

Broadway is lined with sycamores whose beige trunks are mottled with peeled bark. A boy bounces a basketball with one hand. The steady rhythm fades slowly.

Hovering
in these sycamores
the same light
guiding her wheelchair
through the neighborhood

Below the stone wall a scarlet vine spirals around an elm that sheds leaves into the river. I could leap from this bench and tumble over the wall into a tangle of weeds.

I slip
on the concrete stairs
an elm leaf
stuck on the bottom
of my sneaker

The dead needles of a whispering pine fan out on adjacent limbs.

I was told
she wouldn’t live
past July
the hydrangea
drop chips of pearl disks

At the park entrance, empty tree frames tremble while a cold wind batters my kneecaps. I want to embrace the new arc of winter but turn back instead.

Frost covers
withered gardens
a black belt
of iced asphalt
leads to the cloister

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end

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