Two Poems

by Laura Donnelly

Miss Missaukee, 1966

For talent, she sang
a Cinderella song,

her hair in a kerchief,
homemade calico skirt.

Later, in mascara, another
sort of costume, her eyes

deep set wells beneath
Patty Duke hair. She hugs

the bouquet to her chest
like a child and her family

fans out around her. Proud
and stunned, sudden flash:

her mother and father,
brother, two

sisters, Grandma Alice
in horn rims and all

of my mother’s trust
mooning forth in this silent,

black-and-white face.

God’s Loneliness

To know it, you must know summer,
the room thick with insects

despite the screen door. Unending mildew.
Everything breathing and wanting

to breed. Even the tree trunks swathed
in green. You must know a heat

that cuts with the chainsaw ring
of cicada, the crash of birdsong

falling over the house an hour
before the day breaks. Impossible

not to feel the soil heave. On edge
but sluggish, the rich scent of earth

reaching up to be pawed. The creator
hushing over it all couldn’t help

but give it thought.
Photo credit

About Laura Donnelly

Laura Donnelly's first book, Watershed, won the 2013 Cider Press Review Editors' Prize. Her poetry has appeared recently in Passages North, Indiana Review, Grist, and as the Missouri Review poem of the week. Originally from Michigan, she lives in upstate New York and teaches at SUNY Oswego.

Laura Donnelly

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