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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 17: 29 Jan. 2023
Poem: 104 words
By Elizabeth Rivers


I love to watch them puff and sway, white sheets 
imbued with cotton light, laundry leaping 
in the summer wind. A miracle 
from churning bubbling suds, a miracle 

like virtue. Leaves, August falling, breeze away, 
bees spiral off to brilliant zinnias, leave 
something of mine unspotted. At night I rest 
between one and another freshened cloth. 

How many places can I know like this? 
Only paper blank enough for print, 
inked signs shaped darkly out of sound. 
(What words or wails that can’t be aimed to hurt?) 

Though my sheets spread as bright as ocean’s sail, 
below them splash the ragged shadows, gray. 

Elizabeth Rivers
Issue 17 (29 January 2023)

was chosen as the 2008 Montgomery Poet Laureate as judged by Marie Howe. Since then she has written three poetry books: Colors of the Universe (Aldrich Press, 2013), What I’d Give Up for Wisdom (Kelsay Books, 2017), and Living in the Sky (Kelsay Books, 2019). For many years she studied with Chris Bursk’s poetry class at BCCP [Buck’s County Community College], and she continues to workshop with her former classmates.

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