It was her twin who died that unlikely way,
the cause, an uneven seam in a concrete pad

that started the forklift tipping, and bad luck
that made her fall the way she did, her head

caught between the metal canopy and the floor.
In town, we agreed when the sister asked for

and was granted by the mayor the right to plant
a garden at Five Corners, a circle in the center

around which cars sped. It was a nice garden,
full of coneflower, butterfly bush, and lilacs.

We’d see her out there watering, and we’d slow
down as we ran over the hoses she’d rigged

cutting off the flow as we did. When she asked
to put up a sign with her sister’s name on it,

she was told no; too personal for a public space.
She no longer tends the garden, but what she

planted has taken hold, filled in, gone a little
wild, the lilacs each spring mad with purple

bundles, coneflowers spilling over the concrete
rim, their wide-petaled heads jutting perilously

out over the dull asphalt as if reaching for our
cars which we no longer bother to slow down.

Laura McCullough's third collection of poems, SpeechActs, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press (2010). Her second collection of poems, What Men Want, is out February 1 from xoxox Press with blurbs by Hilda Raz, Denise Duhamel, and Kurt Brown. Her first, The Dancing Bear, debuted in 06 with jacket blurbs by Stephen Dunn, Li-young Lee, and BJ Ward. In 07, Mudlark published her chapbook of prose poems, Elephant Anger, and she won her second NJ State Arts Council Fellowship, this time in poetry; the first was in prose. She has an MFA in fiction from Goddard College. In 07, she attended the Summer Solstice Writers Conference, went to Bread Loaf again as part of the Social Staff, attended the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference and the Vermont Studio Center. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Harpur Palate, Guernica, Crab Orchard Review, The Oklahoma Review, Perihelion, Anti-poetry, Tusculum Review, Hanging Loose, Pebble Lake Review, The Hiram Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Iron Horse Quarterly, The Hiss Quarterly, The Pedestal, The Potomac, Nimrod, Boulevard, Tattoo Highway, Gulf Coast, Hotel Amerika, Poetry East, The Portland Review, and others. Her book reviews have appeared in such places at Webdelsol Review of Books, The Potomac, and Small Spiral Notebook. Laura is a doctoral candidate in poetry at the University of Essex.


| Write to the Author | Archives