Marcia Trahan


In my house, one room looks onto another,

and another. In the last, my bedroom,

the window holds a chicken-wire fence,

a stutter of fresh leaves, the neighbor’s

corrugated metal roof.

Yesterday I wept there,

could not get beyond the bed covers.

I remembered a childhood game

in which my cousin and I

held tight to the edge of my mattress,

pretending there were sharks below,

waiting to nip off a finger, a toe.

The sharks are bigger now,

more plentiful, real.


Did you know that

I couldn’t find you in my house, Mama?

I searched for you, front door to chicken-wire fence;

you were not there.


Today, with the help of pills, or faith,

or love, or whatever, I got out of bed.

As a reward, treat (bribe), I bought myself flowers,

parrot tulips: great pink creatures with green stripes.

They bloom from an old spaghetti-sauce jar,

huge fleshy petals like curled hands slowly opening,

drawing me curious into their sexual parts,

the ones whose names I never learned. No matter.

I love the way flowers live so splendidly just before they die.

Cut from their roots, they open still. Right here in my house.

No one could stop them.

Marcia Trahan is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars’ MFA program. Her essays and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in Fourth Genre, Full Circle, EverChanging, and Clare and have twice received honorable mention in the New Millennium Writing Awards. Based in Vermont, she currently works as a freelance editor and is in the process of completing a memoir, "The Last Reasonable Hour". For more information, visit

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