Laura Sminchak - September 24, 2020


In the picture you are a child

standing in your wild appalachia

barefooted in overalls

amid a great depression.

Sunny hair frames your face

like a cloud


I wonder that you never caught cold

spry in unbroken motion

crouching in a wide-brimmed hat

to tend gardens and wade creeks.

A stroke steals

swiftly then slowly.

Clutching your hand in a

stark hospice room,

you suddenly knew me.

I could not tell you, but

I wonder if you knew.


It has been a year.

Turning turning, this world

ensnared by its usual vices,

cyclical soft spots of

diseased bodies and minds.

Will my children

keep jugs of Clorox like you

hid coffee cans of cash?



to be so delighted by babies.

Holding mine you fondly call them


wistfulness mutes piercing blue.

I had never heard the word,

part of a grandmotherly lexicon,

spoken in a soft Virginia drawl over

rumpled blonde curls

as a blessing.

Laura’s work has appeared in publications such as From Whispers to Roars, Cathexis Northwest Press, and Neologism Poetry Journal. She lives in Ohio with her family and is a licensed attorney. She can often be found adventuring with her young children and drinking too much coffee. You can find her on Instagram at @laura_writes_words.