Poem | Family

(Judith Perry)

Walls of narrow streets
were neighbors,
facing windows borrowing
light, shade.
From our balcony
I noticed a bowl of fruit
emptying, filling
on the table opposite.
Each night, over the sill,
a dishcloth, worn,
was spread to dry,
red stripes long faded.
Its people could
afford a new one,
but touch, close use,
had made it family. 

Years later, unable to sleep,
I remember how carefully
the cloth
was offered to the air.

Published in the July / August 2020 issue: 
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Nikia Leopold’s poems have appeared in various magazines, including the American Scholar, Commonweal, Measure, the Southern Review, and Poetry. Her chapbook Small Pleasures won the 2012 Blue Light Press contest, and her second book, Healing with Shadows, was published in January 2021. She lives in Ruxton, Maryland.

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Poem | The Phrase

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