Issue > Poetry
Nora Hutton Shepard

Nora Hutton Shepard

Nora Hutton Shepard is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina and presently teaches Creative Writing, Poetry at North Carolina State University where she received her MFA. She earned a second MFA from Warren Wilson's Writer's Program. Her most recent publication includes a poem in the 125th Anniversary Issue of Poet Lore and Great River Review.

It Was A Friday

How did the child end up
in the stream, his eyes
the flat blue of the sky,
water clear as breath
sluicing over his cheeks,
over the stones cradling
his head?

His mother, at the kitchen window,
peels potatoes. She's scrubbed
earth from the eyes, rinsing
the dirt down the drain.
And she's talking on the phone,
the cord crimped, stretched far
as it might, her voice strung
to another state.

And even before she thinks
there's something wrong—

she leans over the sink            
to scan the lawn and the woods,
and sees herself pale and fractured,
her face transparent, hanging
over the empty yard.

Puzzle

Dump puzzle pieces across the table—
a study in expectations. Turn each piece face up;
study the shapes, colors. Find the corners
and begin. Begin somewhere. Begin.

The picture on the box: a neighborhood with cars,
tangles of blackberries, a run-over dog,
a hearse in a drive way up the street,
a child with a baby on his back and an old woman
sitting by her window, at a table.

Over her house hot-air balloons
fill the sky, hang above her;
for all she knows they could be
bombs. But not today. No clouds, no
shadows, just bright balloons. She isn't thinking of the sky;
she's putting a puzzle together. So many pieces.
Does she even have them all?

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