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Maggie Rowe
Poems

About the Poet
Maggie Rowe’s chapbook, Every Mother Moves To A New Country, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011. She has published poems in The Sun and Oberon magazines.

Originally from Britain, she has lived in the United States for thirty-three years. She teaches a weekly poetry workshop at the Cancer Support Community, and edited their collection, Poems of Shadows and Light (2009). Last year she edited a book of Twitter puns, Poultrymovies, Dogsongs And Other Witty Tweet Jokes.


Fall 2012 Poems »
Small Luggage

My father rode his bike as though it were part of his body,
leaning it like an extra limb
as he threw a leg over

or on arrival brought it back,
feet crossed over a single pedal
to coast in straight as a guard.

Weekdays he rode alone to the train station,
raincoated through soaking winds
or shirt-sleeved in high-morninged summer,

but Sunday mornings,
from a child seat on his crossbar no bigger than a hand,
the small luggage of his offspring got tipped acutely

as he tossed the frame sideways to mount,
a cardiganed package flying unsecured over ruts and road grit
against the crazed buffeting of terrible trucks.

Once we could ride alone
we pedaled cartoonishly behind that graceful man,
who wasn't made to falter by growling traffic

or the loose wake of his children,
brakes failing, chains softening,
hurtling toward ditches.

I see him even now cresting the hill
singing in Latin,
some small behatted person balanced on his bar.

~

The Night We Took Fish From Our River And The Police Came

What a black night, thick rain,
branches knocking windows,
water tearing through gutter pipes.

A car’s engine roared up the hill
and blue lights came flashing
into the farmyard;

I grabbed both beautiful sewin,
ran upstairs to hide them
under my sleeping sister’s bed,

and back down to the kitchen
full of teenagers in rain coats
where I watched the porch door open,

saw a fishing gaff propped
against the inner door,
and someone stepped quickly over

as if in greeting
to hide the gaff with his body
from view.

The policeman entered,
looked around,
wishing us noswaithdda, good evening,

asked about our neighbour
at the next farm,
whether we had seen him.

Surprised,
my father said he came for milk
twice a week, carrying his can.

It was hard looking innocent
when so many of us were
dripping on the floor,

fresh blood
pooled on the kitchen
table.

The policeman
did not mention poaching,
had bigger fish to fry.

He told us
our neighbour had been on the run
for years,

was wanted for murder,
wore a wig, carried a loaded
gun.

~

Sack

The man closes his heart in an agate cube.
Watches the sea with a boat for eyes.
Decorates the house of his public face
With stories smeared in blue veils and stars.
He frames his display with a strong arm
Using childlight to decorate his private tales.
Over his shoulder, a wet, dark sack.
A hundred children hide there.
He keeps his heart safe in an agate cube.
It's his own childhood. For him there's no other.
He's a father, a doctor, a priest. He wears white.

~

~ Maggie Rowe
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