One If By – Elizabeth R. Smith ’92

Elizabeth R. Smith, class of 1992

ONE IF BY

In Boston today I saw

The same pilgrims’ feet treading cow paths                                                                           On  their way to the sea
Shining on a spring day
Shod in shouts of well-wishers
Destination new world
In Boston today I saw

The same reports of smoke coming from the square
Heads turning in curiosity, confusion, horror
A boy dropping his ice cream cone
A girl falling among white blossoms
A woman raising blue eyes to the same sky
In Boston today I saw

The same calloused hands that harvested land and
Heaved ropes on whaling boats
Pulling strangers from the fire
Pressing an open wound
Pinching an artery closed

In Boston today I saw

The same physician’s eye traversing a body
Assessing mortality, calculating distance
Her runner’s apron cradling a curly head
While battle cries form around her

In Boston today I saw

The same shelter-in-place
As the night the Regulars were out
Brownstone doors flung wide to welcome
The pounding feet of runners instead of riders
Citizens watchful at their windows
With solemn nods to servants defending civility

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Windigo by Leslie Le Mon ’90


Leslie Le Mon is an author and consultant.  A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Leslie lives in Los Angeles where she is a member of the Book Publicists of Southern California. Her books include Cold Dark Harbor and Other Tales of Ghosts and Monsters, the collection from which “Windigo” appears, the YA fantasy series Sircus of Impossible Magicks, and the unauthorized Disneyland Book of Secrets 2013. Visit www.leslielemonauthor.com for more.

Yarick, Maine

Ten years ago, in 1955, my husband and I lived in a cold water walk-up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  It was at the top of an old house on the waterfront, circa 1700, which sounds picturesque, but it just means the building was falling down around our ears, that we froze in the winter, and broiled in the summer, and that the smell of salt and fish and tar marinated our three small rooms year-round.

Ernest had graduated from Bowdoin with a degree in literature.  He didn’t want to teach; he didn’t want to pursue a graduate degree, and he didn’t want to work in advertising.  He wanted to write the great American novel–not a great American novel, but The Great American Novel. That meant he pounded on an old Corona typewriter all day and night, and sent queries to the big literary houses in Boston, New York, London, and Paris.

Ernest was very earnest, and so was his novel, but no one on either side of the Atlantic was interested. Polite rejection after polite rejection landed in our mailbox. Worse, they were boiler plate rejections–absolutely impersonal.

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Old Woman by Sandra Kohler ’61


Sandra Kohler’s poetry has been appearing in print for at least 35 years, in publications such as The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, The Gettysburg Review and The Colorado Review. Her most recent book, Improbable Music, was published by Word Tech Communications in 2011. A previous book, The Ceremonies of Longing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003) won the AWP Award Series in Poetry. In 1985 and 1990, she was the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry awarded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In between writing poetry and raising her son, she taught literature and writing everywhere from elementary school to college.

i.

Waking, I hear a bird beating at the window
under the mulberry: black bird, black window,
black tree. It’s grey and thick and breathless,
but dry. I’ll walk, my husband will play tennis.
We will do what we do, enact the day our
calendar disposes. A flash of wings: a blue jay
in the mulberry. These days wings moving
through the garden’s green are usually gold –
gold finch, orioles? My husband walks down
to the garage, carrying the chair he rests in
between sets. We rub and fray a little, we rub
and caress. A dove is cooing somewhere close.
The garden waits. Is it dry enough to weed
the cutting bed? It feels as if summer is over.
It feels as if I am testing a new way of being,
some weight I’m learning to carry, restraints
I am learning to wear. The garments of old
women, the thickness around the waist,
deepening folds of the face, loosening skin.
A different grip on the real, the world, new
expectations. Do I believe a word of this?
A cardinal flies out of the mulberry, across
the roof next door. I imagine and don’t
see his red reflection in the roof pond.

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