by Laurie Klein


The empty pew, a whisper
of sheen—Advent’s light
weighs no more than
an echo. I hear your voice,
though you no longer call.

Hands cannot encompass
what feels lost:
your baby’s dimpled knuckles
and pearl-button toes,
our skein of words—too late

to unsay. You saying
it was always like this: me,
in your face. Fingers
tremble over my small phone,
each shunt of silence.

Even the Noble fir in the nave
blinks off. On again. Off.
A pinecone droops,
and I fancy its sorrow, another failure
to reseed. I am left holding

a fleeting scent of adornment
and shorn roots, their seep
hushed. And always,
a mother’s hope for what can yet be:
the small switch. One circuit.


LAURIE KLEIN is the author of a poetry collection, Where the Sky Opens, and a chapbook, Bodies of Water, Bodies of Flesh. Her work has recently appeared in Barrow Street, The Pedestal, San Pedro Review, Every Day Poems, and several anthologies, and she has poems forthcoming in Ascent and Whale Road Review. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.


Photo: “White Light Tree” by Steven Smith