Issue > Poetry
Mary Ellen Redmond

Mary Ellen Redmond

Mary Ellen Redmond earned her MFA in Poetry from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her poems have appeared in The Drunken Boat, Comstock Review, Free State Review, 5am, Cape Cod Review and Rattle. This is her twenty-second year teaching English to students on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Her son, a submariner stationed on Guam, has given her the new designation as a “Guam Mom.” He has a poem of hers tattooed on his ribcage.

Fifty-six Days


and still, no word from my son.

Then, one morning, the phone rings:
Hi, he says.
     and the sound of his voice,
shifts my world          into place.
The sound of his voice

tells a hundred stories I will never hear. He's back—

one life interrupted for another, submerged
in a metal tube with no contact,
no news—three squares and hot racks.

Like a spider sending out filaments,
he wants to hear of the ordinary, the familiar,
the cool spring we're having, his cousin's wedding,  
any news to pull him home,

And joy—

that infrequent visitor, keeps me company all day.

Listen, I say, and hold the phone to the cat's
belly to catch her humming.

Later that week, we Skype. His latest tattoo,
a compass rose, pink and raw.

And last night, long after midnight, a soft chime
on the phone alerts me:

Night, ma

Seven letters sent from the other side of the globe—

stars forming a new constellation,

fixing my place in this world.

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