Laura Sminchak

In the picture you are a child
standing in your wild appalachia
barefooted in overalls
amid a great depression.
Sunny hair frames your face
like a cloud

I wonder that you never caught cold
spry in unbroken motion
crouching in a wide-brimmed hat
to tend gardens and wade creeks.
A stroke steals
swiftly then slowly.
Clutching your hand in a
stark hospice room,
you suddenly knew me.
I could not tell you, but
I wonder if you knew.

It has been a year.
Turning turning, this world ensnared by its usual vices,
cyclical soft spots of
diseased bodies and minds.
Will my children
keep jugs of Clorox like you
hid coffee cans of cash?

to be so delighted by babies.
Holding mine you fondly call them
wistfulness mutes piercing blue.
I had never heard the word,
part of a grandmotherly lexicon,
spoken in a soft Virginia drawl over
rumpled blonde curls
as a blessing.

A Cabrera's poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in The New Guard, Brain,Child Magazine, Colere, Acentos Review, The Berkeley Fiction Review, Best Travelers' Tales 2021 Anthology, Mer, Deronda, and other journals. Her short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Award and adapted for stage by the Bay Area Word for Word Theater Company. She writes, teaches, dances and ride bikes in San Francisco, but not always in that order.

Laura’s work has appeared in publications such as From Whispers to Roars, Cathexis Northwest Press, and Neologism Poetry Journal. She lives in Ohio with her family and is a licensed attorney. She can often be found adventuring with her young children and drinking too much coffee. You can find her on Instagram at @laura_writes_words.