by Barbara Daniels

Rain ticks on dropped leaves
and the hood and shoulders
of my black coat.  I look like

a monk dragging a slow leg,
peering through trees toward
the light.  The same people

have walked here for months,
man with his polished stick,
girl in a checkered coat

sometimes with friends but
often alone.  The quiet is like
a secret church service, prayer

in near silence, whispered
hymn, belief as emotion,
not dry doctrine.  It’s time

to cross names of the dead
off the Christmas card list.
Holes in the cloudcover

open.  Yellow poplars are slim
and upright as if they’re still
young parents or guards

glad of the work.  I look back
at a hawk’s all-seeing eyes.
Bareness brings buildings

closer, wet trees with wrenched
hips and twisted arms, fallen
trunk slick as a casket.


Barbara Daniels is the author of Rose Fever, a book of poetry
published by WordTech Press in 2008.  Her second collection,
Talk to the Lioness, is forthcoming from Casa de Cinco
Hermanas Press, which previously published her chapbooks
Black Sails, Quinn & Marie, and Moon Kitchen.  Daniels’
poetry has appeared in
Prairie Schooner, Mid-American
, and other journals.  She has received three fellowships
from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.   

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 14, Number 2
(Fall 2019)

Copyright © 2019
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

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