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After the illness struck,
those who lived near enough
gathered to bury the child.

The church doors sighed open;
the neighbors slipped
into the marbled blue night,

all but one, who stayed kneeling
till dawn, then appeared with the sun
at the young couple’s home to assist

with the cooking and tending.
While they dined in silence
she piled plates and scrubbed pots

and mended socks. And she stayed on
through the patient adobe decades,
while the sun paled her blankets

and yarn hunched in baskets. A letter
with greening ink lay unread,
smooth in a mute box she kept

at her bedside. Now sun pries
at recesses. Doors shift. Light seeps in.
The lone guest, no longer guest,

works in the bleary light, threading
her faded strands into the form
of a midnight sunrise.

Photo by Antoine J. on Unsplash

Lesley Clinton

Lesley Clinton has won awards from the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW), Press Women of Texas, and the Poetry Society of Texas. Her chapbook of poems, Calling the Garden from the Grave (Finishing Line Press), won 2nd place among books of verse in the NFPW 2020 Communications Contest. In 2019 Lesley received the Lucille Johnson Clarke Memorial award from the Houston Poetry Fest. Lesley’s book reviews have been published or forthcoming in America Magazine and Christianity and Literature, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as THINK, Mezzo Cammin, The Windhover, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, Grotto, and Ekstasis Magazine. Lesley has a Master of Arts in Teaching. She teaches high school English and is Editor in Chief of The Chronicle of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory.


  • Jack Ridl says:

    What a blessing to read Lesley’s and D.R.‘a poems, the exquisite timing and sacrifice of self to bring out the best in us, evoke empathy, give us fresh perception, embody the mystery of experience, and all with artistic integrity. Both reveal that a poem should not be about meaning and answer, but is language transcending language into all that can’t be known.

  • Daniel Meeter says:

    I like it very much, but I feel like I need help with it.