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"Have you ever understood a New Yorker poem?"

— Amol Salunkhe

By Lisa Wiley

Abstract brushstrokes I feel
but can't quite grasp

like dogwood petals
on the front lawn.

I read faces too —
don't have to wait

for explanations beyond
guarded brows, hooded eyes

zippered lips in Times Square.
New Year's Eve

won't ever be the same
since Dick Clark died.

I hope the basket of fresh popcorn
was a truce,

so we won't need to brace ourselves
as fragile boughs in April snow.

LISA WILEY is an English professor at Erie Community College. Her poetry has appeared in Beyond Bones, Earth's ?Daughters, Epiphany Magazine, Seven Circle Press, Red Booth Review and the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine.


Sophie's Mom

By Lisa Wiley

New friend, I don't even know your name,
but we learned the nicknames of our daughters.

Some days we need not sit alone
on the bleachers, reach out

to the calm, steady blue of another.
Rivers around your eyes deeper than mine.

Wash away a sting with real talk
of first communion veils, terrible two's,

squeezing in a family dinner.
Find comfort as those waters deepen

over missed grounders, overthrown
softballs, little-girl giggles.

Second grade ponytails, fine as corn silk,
won't last forever, and you understand

we need not bury ourselves in a Nook,
a New Yorker or yesterday's news—

'cause if we look up too late,
a foul ball may hit us square in the face.