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Amanda Newell

About the Poet
Amanda Newell's poetry has appeared in publications such as Bellevue Literary Review, Pearl, Poet Lore, and Tar River Poetry. She was the Donald Everett Axinn Contributor Scholar at the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and her chapbook, Fractured Light, won the 2010 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize.

Fall 2012 Poems »
Waiting for Spring

Tundra swans have been roosting in the quarry
all week. Hundreds of curved bodies,
whiteness drifted like snow.

Their murmurings keep me awake,
brooding on trouble.

Yesterday, I watched from our living room
as the hearse backed down the neighbor’s lane:
a couple who had just retired,
and now the wife has died.

Wind gathers force, rips a shingle
from our roof. The house stiffens, china rattles
with each gust. I grow tired

of my body, its heaviness. Under ice,
the river’s current trudges

through the channel. So cold,
even the knick of the razor on my knee
brings relief: the sting blooms
red on my flesh.


Quiet Pond Farm
—For my student, Emily

Driving to your farm
after your father’s funeral,
the fields half-frozen
beneath a cover of purple vetch,

I wish I could go back—
past the officers stammering
the news on your porch,
past the overturned car.

I would send him home
on a different route
to Quiet Pond Farm,
where one of your horses

is loose now, his silhouette
sepia beneath the willow tree.
He broke through the fence
while everyone was gone.

After catching him, I secure
the boards with baling twine—
a temporary fix. In this darkness,
it’s all that I can do.


Thinking of the Blue Ridge

Only the furnace stirs against the cold
silence of morning.

Still no call from the man whose glance
could once billow me

the way a breeze lifts and swirls
the hem of a skirt.

I sometimes dream of his skin
warm on my skin,

the grit of earth and pine in his voice.

he would whisper in Iroquois.
Until next time.

Today, the mountains loom between us
like a disappointment.

There is work to be done at home:
laundry waits,

papers must be graded. The tobacco
I meant to give him

leaves its bitter scent in my car. Now,
no fire will burn it.


~ Amanda Newell
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