Laura Foley


Almost four, on a dare
from his brother,
he leaps from the raised silo floor
to the ground, ten feet down.
Due to birth my daughter soon—
my mouth’s a wide-open O
as I watch his flight—
my hands an umbrella
around my big belly,
till he lands—on his feet
on soft summer grass,
and smiles up at me—
as I breathe, bracing myself
for I dare not imagine
what next.

Into the Blinding

I wonder if my therapist
thought I stalked her,
renting the room next to hers,

writing while she painted,
buying her paintings,
covering my walls with her art.

I stared at her reds and yellows
till I saw them under my eyelids,
the way you stare into sun,

and turn away blinded by black spots—
but something in that blinding enticed me,
till I wanted to bury her fiery art

in actual fire, gazing into that flaming,
as my house filled
with choking smoke.

My next crush burned more like embers,
a Buddha incarnate. Once, on a walk,
I saw her through a window,

writing, and paused to watch—
never doubting something brilliant
abut the Buddha.

Last week I spotted her, a decade later,
hiding behind columns, ducking me
on webbed feet I once thought winged—

or is it me, receding in a dim light,
looking back at my younger self,
burning bright as Dido on the pyre.

Him Thinking History

I don’t want to go to Iran
or Pakistan, Japan
or even Hawaii—
but I never say so,
dutifully packing up
our three squirming
young children and me

to follow him—
onto the ferry boat
watching Santorini’s
cliffs rising above us
out of the deep Aegean,
him knowledgably
lecturing history,

me enacting herstory,
nursing the restless baby,
clutching the toddler,
providing for posterity,
hoping the volcano
won’t erupt today.


Laura Foley is the author of six poetry collections, including, most recently, WTF and Night Ringing. Her poem “Gratitude List” won the Common Good Books poetry contest and was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. Her poem “Nine Ways of Looking at Light” won the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, judged by Marge Piercy. A palliative care volunteer in hospitals, with an M.A. and an M. Phil. in English Lit. from Columbia University, she lives with her partner and their two dogs among the hills of Vermont. For more of her work, please visit her at

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