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Scene [Poetry]

by Kelly Cherry

  • The curtain flies in the open window.
  • The girls are jumping on and off
  • The bed on which their father slept.
  • He has gone out in anorak
  • And wide-brimmed hat and Wellingtons,
  • And with a walking stick. The girls
  • Pretend that one of them is sick.
  • The curtain falls still, so still its shadow
  • Seems painted on the windowsill.
  • The toy penguin on the table
  • Has its wings spread wide. The girls
  • Play school and mark each other’s papers.
  • (They have grown tired of smelling-salts,
  • The vapors.) He has reached the top
  • Of the mountain (for I can see
  • Him from here). The curtain stirs,
  • Snags on thorns and burrs. The girls
  • Play war and snip out pics of ships
  • And Spam. On an island like this,
  • Lacking reference points, everything
  • At a distance looks huge, and seen
  • From the crown of the furze-covered mountain,
  • A rooster will look as big as a man.
  • The girls bring tea to the toy penguin.
  • The freed curtain flies in the open
  • Window, and the jam-jar daisies
  • That were picked from the garden spill
  • On the floor like girls galore.



The winner of numerous awards and holder of several chaired professorships, including the Eudora Welty Professorship of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kelly Cherry is a prolific writer of poetry, essays and fiction.  Her many books include Death and Transfiguration: Poems (LSU, 1997), The Life and Death of Poetry(LSU, 2013), The Woman Who [Stories] (Boson Books, 2010) and A Kind of Dream [linked stories] (Wisconsin, 2014). Cherry is a former Poet-in-Residence for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the recipient of the 2012 Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry.

  1. Stunning story there. What occurred after? Take care!

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