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On Steps

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I visit my mother
           at her new house
after dinner and we wait
           for the harvest moon
on her porch steps.

In the suburbs,
           the ferns are fresh
and fragrant, the wind
           white and wet.

We are still and silent.
            We offer our faces up
like paper plates.

But when we lived together
             as girls, we were quick.


We carried groceries
             up city steps
in trips and shifts,
             up from yellow brick
and trolley tracks,
             out of closing markets
and six-pack pubs.

We climbed to small dark
             house after small
dark house     all those years.

We were strong, lifting
             our gallons of milk alone.

We spoke all the way, soft,
             with sweet spring water
in our little throats,

the moon watching us,
             maybe, like a mother
we never knew

- Shannon Sankey

Shannon Sankey is a fellow and master’s of fine arts candidate at Chatham University. Her poems have appeared in Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Atticus Review and The Rectangle, as well as being featured on Prosody Radio. She lives in the East End of Pittsburgh.




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