Appeared in Volume 3 Issue 3

Kathleen M. Quinlan has two poems featured in the edition.

 

Nine pairs of eyes—yours the wariest—
narrow at our arrival, track us as we tumble
out of the car into our grandfather’s arms.
We cower, out-numbered against the locals,
those wanna-be grandchildren who know
where he stores the toys and tools, how to
make the tire swing under the willow sing.

No introductions, no handshakes. Grampy
simply hands out pails, stands ladders
against laden trees. Bound by blood, I cling
to siblings, throwing nervous glances
sideways, edging round branches,
tentatively marking arboreal territory
between us and them.

When arms fail under the weight,
each child marches a load to the barn.
Jackets come off in the autumn sunshine.
Greedy mouths crunch Macintoshes
polished on patched jeans. After
the low-hanging fruit and tiny crab-apples,
energy wanes. They begin to retreat.

Still scrambling among the branches, I stretch
toward a half-hidden treasure. Your nimble fingers
find it first. Parting the leaves dividing family from
neighbors, the earth of my eyes meets the sky of yours.
Beyond the tree’s embrace, a dog barks,
a baby cries. You smile, offer to hold my bucket.
Together we reach the highest branches.


 

Kathleen M. Quinlan’s pamphlet, From We to I, is forthcoming from Cinnamon Press. In the past year, her book manuscripts have been finalists for the Venture Award at Flipped Eye Press and the Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award. Her poetry has been placed in magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, including Acumen, Ariadne’s Thread, Bloodroot, the Aurorean, Envoi, Frogmore Papers, Gargoyle, Orbis, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Interpreter’s House and Vermont Literary Review. Born and raised in rural Maine, she now teaches at the University of Oxford and is a member of Back Room Poets and Second Light Network. Find her at :http://www.kathleenmquinlan.net

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