Doris Watts

Loss of Light

It's not the sudden frost, the one that wilts
the leaves of zinnias and hollyhocks
and sends us off to unpack winter quilts
and search the bottom drawers for heavy socks.
That's not what burnishes the trees and reddens
leaves, and where there is a stretch of gold
and yellow in a growth of mountain aspens
by the road, it isn't that the day's been cold.

Instead it is the steady loss of light
that causes greens to fade for want of sun.
It is the daily drawing out of night
that brings the reds and golds and yellows on,
then sets fire to the sweet gum in the park--
as if to compensate for growing dark.


The whole thing's been a tragedy, they said.
Raped, mutilated, tongue cut out so she
could never tell (her sister was his wife).
And yet she managed--stitched carefully,
all lovely and elaborate, the truth spelled out,
emerging slowly word by word and soon
spread there for all the neighborhood to see.
Oh God, work worthy of the county fair.
The good wives used to call it "fancywork,"
those messages they left
.............................with needles, hooks


Doris Watts was born in Nebraska and now lives in Temecula, California, where it has snowed only once and briefly in the last twelve years. She is a graduate of the University of Redlands and earned a master's degree in technical communication from San Diego State University. She has worked as a usability specialist studying the interface between user and computer documentation products. Her work has appeared in Mezzo Cammin, The Formalist (she was twice a finalist in the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Competition), Blue Unicorn, The Lyric, The Mid-American Poetry Review, and 14 by 14. Earlier work in Mezzo Cammin: 2012.1, 2011.2, 2011.1, 2009.2, & 2009.1.


Diann Blakely
Terese Coe
Enda Coyle-Greene
Erica Dawson (Featured Poet)
Nicole Caruso Garcia
Terry Godbey
Tracey Gratch
Athena Kildegaard
Diane Lockward
Mary McLean
Mary Meriam
Jennifer Reeser
Susan Spear
Myrna Stone
Doris Watts
Gail White
Marly Youmans

Mezzo Cammin is proud to announce the third anniversary of The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, which will be celebrated on Thursday, March 21, from 6:00-9:00 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as part of its PAFA After Dark series and in affiliation with its exhibition The Female Gaze. Featured readers will include Rachel Hadas, Marilyn Nelson, and Sonia Sanchez. Also performing will be singer Suzzette Ortiz and poets from the Philadelphia Youth Movement. The event is open to the public.
Jean Shin: Much of my work is site-specific, establishing a dialogue with not only architecture and outdoor spaces, but also the communities that inhabit and activate them. By reinserting used, familiar materials back into the public realm, I invite a large, diverse audience to bring their own histories to the work. Through these encounters each installation forms its own imagined community, revealing new associations and meanings for ephemera, and speaking to our shared experiences.
32 Poems
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Women's Poetry Listserv
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