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A woman named -- What is her name?
by Anne Bower

Food pantry's well-stocked bins and coolers

in old wooden building tucked behind

converted mill building,

driveway pocked and muddy.

Milk and cereal, canned stew, oversized cucumbers.

She hauls her take to the old Subaru,

drives past sewage plant and fading maples to the

rental with cracked windows, abstract of her days.

She's clean now but mom has her son,

scorns her pleas for loan.

Town's gossip travels with her,

like a scarlet O blazed on

her worn sweat shirt.

Each Thursday she drives past her son's school,

up uncle's gravel road,

vacuums and dusts, irons light blue shirts

and his wide-waisted khaki pants,

wipes counters, table, shines the kitchen faucet,

and when he opens the door at 6:15,

back from the store's long aisles,

she's ready on the plaid sofa,

only the kitchen light

pale on her washed skin.

Anne Bower lives in a 230-year-old old house in rural Vermont, teaches tai chi, gardens, and visits family whenever possible. Publications include two solo-authored chapbooks—Poems for Tai Chi Players and The Space Between Us and one co-authored with Pamela Ahlen, Getting It Down on Paper. Individual poems have appeared in Likely Red, Naugatuck River Review (2019 Contest finalist), ArtAscent, Evening Street Review, Light Journal, Gemini Magazine (2018 Contest winner), Raven’s Perch, The Literary Nest, and other journals and anthologies. During academic life she published books and articles on epistolary literature and on food and culture. Website: www.annebower.studio Instagram: Chimama4747

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