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Pockets Full of Rocks - Shyla Shehan

Lying in my bed, I listened

to trains on tracks—their horns

blowing at comforting intervals.

Rhythm of the cicadas’ persistent call

and rush of wind through tree branches

lulled me into deep sleep

on many open-windowed

hot summer nights.

The world outside and I

had not yet been introduced.

I was only twelve or twenty then,

still turning in small circles admiring the way my skirt wafted up. I walked sidewalks around town and trails in the woods discovering what to collect. Rocks were perfect for slipping quickly into pockets and were free, like time.

When I turned thirty-four I was desperate for trains on tracks and their reliable nightly street-crossing calls. I held the door for you. I loved our inside jokes about Bill and Ted and the fish lady at our bank. I loved all the ways you made me smile—

rocks stacked neatly in pots against a far wall.


Shyla Shehan is an analytical Virgo who has spent the majority of her life in the midwest. She holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Nebraska where she received an American Academy of Poets Prize in 2020. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tempered Ruins Press, Boston Accent Lit, Prometheus Dreaming, Verses from the Plains: A Poetry Collection, The Showbear Family Circus, and elsewhere. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband, children, and four wily cats. Shyla spends most days tending to a healthy household and is pleased with her role as Managing Editor for The Good Life Review. She enjoys gardening, road trips, blogging from her treadmill, and hunting for the perfect cheeseburger. All this and more at


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