Soldiering On


When night glows with dread
and morning arrives, scabbed over,

when clouds belch combustion and
the horizon is bruised,

we summon the smell of tuber roses—
wet laundry, snapping on a clothesline, the salt

smell of hard work, the glow
of a sunburned shoulder, tucking in

to rhubarb pie, a pulsing
fontanel—dangerous as a peach—the stain

of embarrassment, the ruddy breast
of a thrush—keeper of the ordinary

squabbling to maintain order
in the tree behind our house.

Jane Otto’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Journal, Eclipse, Raleigh Review, Talking River and PANK. Most of these poems are part of a work in progress titled At the Home for Wayward Girls.

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