Sharlie West


On the deck, my husband lights

a red candle.

Fireflies dance beside the flame,

pricking the dark around us.

From each end of the garden,

cicadas hum

the hot, slick air.


I think of those who have loved me,

gone like summer berries

plumped from leaves;

their shadows

follow me into the house.

Now, beside the moon,

a vanishing star.           


a damp crust covers all things

a smell of emptiness

and cold flowers,

petals of white ash

that grow in the riverbed.

The river hides

in veils of dead leaves.

Spring hangs close by

waiting for a script.

I pen the shape of ferns,

the shape of moon and winds,

black roots that bend

to the rhythm of word,

prints of cycles

written in margins of leaves.

The river everywhere


over boundaries,

mournful, wild and deep.

Sharlie West was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She received her MA in English/Education from the George Washington University. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including: Pacific Coast Journal, California Quarterly, Passager, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, The Baltimore Review, Gargoyle, Minimus, Wordwrights!, Bogg, and Nth Degree.  She is the author of five poetry chapbooks, a novel, and several short stories. Sharlie and her husband, Jim, live in Silver Spring, Maryland.             



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