Eastern View of Yarmouth 1840

 Kelle Groom


Windmill arms, church spire, darklines of ground sky, an etching

I’ll scrape into metal in a school on a military base on the coast

of Spain not knowing I can make something stark and clear

appear, white cap over hills houses or maybe only

distance, fence low enough to jump fronts the town:

10 barnhouses, thin river road, one man with a crook

heads inside. My fifth great-grandfather dead ten years buried

no one knows, reservation land leased to the highest bidder sold

to pay smallpox costs the cost of dying, my mother’s line

survived through him, his son who died at sea 8 years before,

everyone married under the spire, where I’ll not stop

crying reading a poem for my grandmother who will die in one

hundred and fifty-eight years, all our family in the pews, from

the pulpit looking down it’s as if I am already gone, bringing news.


Kelle Groom is the author of four poetry collections, most recently, Spill (Anhinga Press), a memoir: I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl (NYT Book Review Editor’s Choice), and How to Live: A Memoir-in-Essays (Tupelo Press, Oct 2023). An NEA Fellow, Groom’s work appears in American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, and Ploughshares.



Back to Table of Contents for Parents | Poetry Edition