Marjorie Maddox

Third Year: Three Friends, Three Deaths

—for B. C. and J. M.

The singular becomes plural. Now we say to each other
not “year” or “loss,” but “years of losses.”
Three friends, three deaths: husband, mother, father,
each of us praying in the dark night for the others

in our years (not year) of losses (not loss).
Like everyone, like no one. Who can compare grief,
each of us crying in the dark night for the others?
Both love and sorrow swallow the day.

Like everyone and no one, we compare each grief
to what we’ve already survived. What does it matter?
Both love and sorrow swallow today.
We move forward by remembering to forget

what we’ve already survived. Does it matter
that the moments we live are now. Alone but together,
we move forward by remembering to forget
or remember. Husband. Mother. Father.

The moments we grieve are now. Together we fear
a future alone. Three friends’ three deaths:
husband, mother, father. Grief reminds us
to mourn together now. The singular becomes plural.

Evening Wait

—after "Sky Over the Heights" by Jean Wetta

If I still believed in the Rapture, this would be the sky,
clouds plump with annunciations or what I believed in
when I still believed. In the Rapture, belief is
sky, plump with annunciations, clouds returning us
to before, to if, to son. Still, I believe. Sky is the before
of rapture, mottled slate for surprise. Still, but not.
This evening’s hidden sun: Annunciation, lavender and waiting.
Plump this surprise slate, this rapture of if,
of belief. Sky lavender and mottled. Sun/
son waiting to break through. This would be
the Annunciation returned to sky, the if of it
mottled with surprised belief, the small town looking up,
no one left waiting. This would be the sky,
this the lavender. All evening, I wait.
Clouds plump with return, my ifs
just a mottled slate of sky I believe in
still, sky’s lavender waiting, unsurprised,
as sun/son breaks through
into rapture.


Professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 13 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); Begin with a Question (Paraclete, International Book Award Winner), and Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For (Shanti Arts), an ekphrastic collaboration with photographer Karen Elias—the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); 4 children’s and YA books—including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises (Finalist International Book Awards), A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry; I’m Feeling Blue, Too! (a 2021 NCTE Notable Poetry Book), and Rules of the Game: Baseball PoemsCommon Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor). In the Museum of My Daughter’s Mind, based on her daughter’s paintings (www.hafer.work) is forthcoming in 2023 (Shanti Arts). Please see www.marjoriemaddox.com.


Hilary Biehl
Michelle DeRose
Claudia Gary
Lynn Gilbert
Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas
Mia Schilling Grogan
Sara Henning
Jenna Le
Marjorie Maddox
Susan McLean
Samantha Pious
Donna Vorreyer
Gail White
Marly Youmans


The Poetry by the Sea Conference ran successfully this year from May 24-27, and is scheduled next year from May 23-26.

Terri Witek: Kim Bridgford was one of the very first to support my work as a collaborator with visual artist Cyriaco Lopes and to honor my way forward as a teacher and practitioner of visual poetics; I’m therefore especially touched that Anna Evans has asked me back as featured artist in the new summer edition of Mezzo Cammin.

The three groups of work represented here are all from longer series of what I call citizen poetics: phone photos dropped into social media feeds without comment: just something washing by in the day’s various streams. To me, it’s important politically that these are all quick, low res images: they are what any soul with a phone might ‘catch' in the same way we monetarily grasp at what flicks past between ads and news from friends in the corporatate-owned scrolls we now move through.

32 Poems
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