Moshe Lieberman: Redwing, 1888

Katharyn Howd Machan

A man decides to leave his house, his town,
worn streets of windows, panes of thickened glass,
to dare an ocean where he might well drown
beside pale strangers, one among a mass
intent on future’s gold: such dreams! such hope
that past can translate into now, like wick’s
quick burst to flame from match’s scratch, or rope
snapped tight to travel. I spent, hoping, six
full years that Sophie’d come to love me, eyes
of lake light, hands a comfort I would touch
but that she shied away with tear-swept lies:
“Our worlds are different—we can’t dare so much.”
She fled. I followed. City, then this town:
America, New York. Her bright blue gown.




Katharyn Howd Machan is the author of 32 published collections, and her poems have appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies, and textbooks, including The Bedford Introduction to Literature and Sound and Sense. She is a full professor in the Department of Writing at Ithaca College in central New York State. In 2012 she edited Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology (Split Oak Press).



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