Laura Grace Weldon


(listen to the poem, read by the author)

Every day of our isolation
we listen for the mail truck
accelerate, slow, stop, accelerate, slow, stop
a large square-ish bird pulling open metal beaks
to feed hungry nestlings spread along our rural road.

Retrieving mail isn’t the same stroll across the street
and back, now that the box is opened with a wipe,
each missive disinfected and left to dry although
it’s hard to wait when an envelope, in careful tiny print,
is addressed to “Involuntary Shut-Ins” or “The Elderly Mad.”

Each such letter contains our daughter’s brainy hilarity
and I can hear her voice as I read it, see her hands writing
and tucking it in the envelope, feel what it’s like to hug her
while she dramatically holds her breath
as if a mother’s effusiveness might be contagious.

Our girl now takes care of us from a distance,
leaves groceries and hand-picked bouquets
calls herself one of Harlow’s monkeys.
Today I bake brioche and place it on her porch,
wings caught in my throat.

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(listen to the poem, read by the author)

Television during my formative years
led me to consider quicksand
a significant threat.
It has been,
though it goes by other names.
Surely it has grabbed you too.
Seemingly solid ground sinks under your step
pulls you down. Every desperate move made
to save yourself drags you deeper.

From TV I learned you survive only
with a rope, a stranger (or loyal horse),
and something unnamed,
something like trust or surrender.

You emerge slowly
sliding back a few times
almost lost until
gasping, grateful, covered with the stuff
you are saved.
Quicksand is everywhere,
so too are ropes, strangers, loyal horses.
In time the unnamed becomes familiar.

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About the Author

Laura Grace Weldon has published two poetry collections, Blackbird (Grayson 2019) and Tending (Aldrich 2013). She was 2019 Ohio Poet of the Year. Laura is a book editor whose background includes teaching nonviolence, leading abuse survivor support groups, and writing collaborative poetry with nursing home residents. Connect with her at