Poetry 2012 / Volume 43

Sojourn — Nylah Lyman

Low-Density Residential

I am trying to accept this place
for what it is,
with its screeching toddlers
and indiscriminate,
nighttime artillery drills,
its speeding mini-vans
and ATVs that run the roads,
kicking fine plumes
of dust fifteen feet into the air.

I balance this suburban unrest
with the mosaic of sun-glossed
oak leaves outside my bedroom
window, and with the mergansers
that nested on the shores of the
shallow lake at the end of our lane
this summer.


Bay-side that first morning,
I woke and kissed salt-air,
celebrated the absence of sound
with champagne and juice,
mused for close to an hour over
the mystifying, spiny pink flowers
tumbling over the garden gate.


I hear the chuffling cough of the sheltie
that lives on the corner of Victoria,
and, moments later, the echoing boom
of the Mastiff-mix from behind the red
stockade fence next door. I learned their
names before I learned the neighbors’.

With time, I learned soil names as well.
Buxton silt loam, Hollis-complex.
Hosta and astilbe grow well here.
In the backyard, lamia spreads
like a silver pool, conceals
the once-gaping gumline of the house.

I make a border of tulips and narcissi,
hopeful that next spring, I won’t be here
to see it come up.

Early July

How far away the grass-thatched dunes
and salmon-colored bluffs of the Cape
seem today. The sea is a closed blue door
I stumble toward, cloud-blind.

One thought on “Sojourn — Nylah Lyman

  1. Pingback: Current Issue: Volume 43, Number 1 — Poetry Issue, Fall 2012 | Coe Review

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