Judith Bowles

Left Behind

We had grown used to the sand
and hot stones
under our feet, the salty taste of our towels, the strange
little houses we all stayed in that faced each other
with slamming screen doors and wide open windows.
And how everything there in Florida
happened outside.
When my brother and I
grew used to that house—
Where our mother had brought us to get healthy again—
foam on the ocean was a cloud dipping down
that tickled our feet and made a soft sink.
I carried that thought back from the beach
and slept with it.
My fourth birthday
brought large, flat paper presents that got left behind
In the wide open house. Something bad happened
to my aunt and we had to go home one night.
It went very dark in the back of the car.

Judith Bowles’ new collection, Unlocatable Source, is forthcoming in July 2019. She was recently the featured poet at the Bloedel Reserve in Bainbridge, Washington, in April, 2018, as part of the National Poetry Month celebration.



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