Two Poems by Laura Stringfellow


for Virgina Petty

When her mother died, she painted
the walls blue and green, colors
that are supposed to liquify
death like the sea.

Up close, they are brush strokes,
a delirious combination of tints.
At a distance, one recognizes
these vertical and horizontal lines—

One wall is a sea,
another a mountain and a lake—
All are surrounded by a splashing,
furious display of grass.

I tell her it is beautiful,
but she laughs in the way
that women will when
they disbelieve their own talent.

I believe, though,
that it would be enough
to lie here on the porch
in my godmother’s hammock,

watching the snowy egret
on one side, and the creation
of her hands on the other,
with all the waters stretched out around me.


Lately, I have thought
of the death of poetry.
The books lean left,
irregular, into the folded
spine of shelf.

I think of the night,
how the hard eye of the sun
gradually closes,

what the stars must see
with their enormous eyes,
the way birds touch their feet
to the ground after flight.

I know that I could live
for these two things—
bleeding horizon,
and the sudden blooming of birds,

breathing the pink of dusk
into my body, feeling the warm
wings of birds on my veined hand.


Laura Stringfellow writes both verse and prose poetry and holds an MFA in Creative Writing. Recent publications have appeared, or are forthcoming, in various journals including Amethyst ReviewDéraciné, Eunoia Review, and Muddy River Poetry Review. She is from the very humid Southern US and enjoys strolling beneath the oak trees when it’s not too hot.

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