Aunt Mar Changes How We See by Kim Stafford

Kim StaffordShe had taken to having naps

most afternoons in the side parlor

while the TV flickered, muttered

brash fuss or hush of snow


as the long hours rounded into dusk,

so dear Mar, when we found her,

lay settled in the easy chair where her

soft light had stepped to the window,


slipped free through the cold clear panes,

passed lively into the buds of cottonwood,

her whispered “Yes” to wind and stars,

her way with folding hands, learned young


by lasting through the thirties, by raising nine

alone, by dealing books to hungry eyes in school,

by feeding us on the stove named Detroit Jewel,

her winsome prayers at times both hard and good


gone deep to the loyal roots of hickory, her calm

to elm reaching over the long prairie road

that joins the there of her

to the here of us, until it all


turns inside out, and through the world

beyond all trouble to core affections, no matter

how far or strange, we now see our days

by the gentle gaze of Mar.

~ Kim Stafford

Kim Stafford is the founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College, where he has taught writing since 1979, and is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, including The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer’s Craft and A Thousand Friends of Rain: New & Selected Poems.  His most recent books are 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How My Brother Disappeared, and Wind on the Waves: Stories from the Oregon Coast.

Tyler Sheldon earned his MA in English at Emporia State University, where he taught English Composition and received the 2016 Charles E. Walton Graduate Essay Award. His poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Coal City Review, The Dos Passos Review, Flint Hills Review, I-70 Review, Quiddity International Literary Journal, Thorny Locust, and other journals. Sheldon is a two-time AWP Intro Journals Award nominee, and has appeared on Kansas Public Radio.


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