Finding Passage
by Maureen Tolman Flannery

they row into teal-blue waterways
saying little
true to their mutual reverence
for the sounds of surrounding mountains

when fluidity snags
on rooted impediments of green
they cannot move through
the floating abundance of water lilies

she turns to face him
lays her oar on the boat floor
like a weapon set down in truce
and slowly releases each button
from the hold of slit cotton
slides the damp shirt from her shoulders
and dangles it across a bed of succulent leaves

he reaches over to pluck a water lily
sets it in her lap

sun slices through thick pines
to skewer the pale flesh of her left breast

more flowers
fewer garments

eyes wrestle to a take down
as she raises hips
pries the wet jeans from under her backside

he keeps plucking perfect white flowers
from the tentacled hold of underwater

nude in a boatful of lotus
she leans back
immersed in the perfume of beauty
and ready to go where his oar
will take them


Maureen Tolman Flannery’s Ancestors in the Landscape: Poems
of a Rancher’s Daughter
was nominated for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize.  
Although she grew up in a Wyoming sheep ranch family, Maureen and
her actor husband Dan have raised their four children in Chicago.  Her
other books are
A Fine Line, Secret of the Rising Up: Poems of
, Remembered Into Life, and the anthology Knowing Stones:
Poems of Exotic Places
.  Flannery’s work has appeared in fifty
anthologies and over a hundred literary reviews, recently including
Amherst Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Xavier Review,
Calyx, Pedestal, Atlanta Review, Out of Line, and North
American Review

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 2, Number 2
(Fall 2007)

Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.