by Claudia Serea

Kids always like to pick rocks,
and we did, each year,
carrying pounds of heavy mementos
on the bottom of our travel bags.

Fingering them,
I thought about soldiers
who carry pebbles or a handful of soil
from home in their pockets
into the battle
for good luck
so they can return.

And I remembered how my father told me
he picked up some rocks and dirt
from his parents’ grave,
filled a bag
and carried it hundreds of miles,

and poured it over the cemetery plots
he bought for my mother and himself,
so he wouldn’t feel guilty anymore
that he didn’t visit his parents’ tombs
in a long time.

I wonder if I’ll do the same,

wonder if I’m hoarding rocks and sand
to fill the distance.

On a wooden table outside,
I gather the stones around
a weathered lantern

into a still life,
a miniature landscape
of memories from the sea,

for good luck,
so I can return.


Claudia Serea’s poems and translations have appeared in
Field, New Letters, 5 a.m., Meridian, Gravel, Prairie
, and elsewhere.  She is the author of four full-length
collections of poetry including, most recently,
Important Happened Today
.  It was published by Broadstone
Books in 2016.  Serea is a founding editor of National
Translation Month, and she co-hosts The Williams Poetry
Readings in Rutherford, New Jersey.  Her latest project is
Twoxism, a poetry-photography collaboration blog with
Maria Haro.   

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 13, Number 1
(Spring 2018)

Copyright © 2018
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

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