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Charlotte Nekola is the author of Dream House: A Memoir (W.W.Norton, 1993; Graywolf, 1995). Her poems have appeared in such literary publications as New Letters, The Massachusetts Review, Cottonwood, and Calyx, among others. Her work has been broadcast on National Public Radio, been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and awarded a Fellowship in Poetry by the New Jersey Council on the Arts. She is the recipient of awards in poetry from the Chester H. Jones Foundation and the Billee Murray Denny Poetry Award Foundation. She makes her home in New Jersey and Maine.

Read about her recent book Della Who




The man steps off a lighted bus
and carries home a bag of sardines and nails.

On the subway, the woman tries not to watch
another man and another woman,

leaning against the door of the train,
how her hair and his shoulders,

together, look like a tree.
The streets steam with coffee, coriander.

Then the man and woman meet,
first at a diner on a road that leaves the city.

Later, they walk past warehouses
full of circus tents, electrical parts, hats.

Their dreams, they find, are still lucky.
One says "Had I known"

as they stop to look at a row of cabbages
planted in the windowbox of a trailer.

By the river they sift air and survey
the procession of a green barge.

"Finally" one says and the streets
seem full of hope and not regret.

At home, the woman licks a shell,
hides it in her bureau drawer

and rerolls her winter stockings.
The man sits in the bay window

of a hotel in a foreign city.
Behind him, a truck turns north,

cicadas mourn, and he does not know why
he listens, now.

© Ragged Sky Press