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RORY - Christy Wise

Crushed by your mother’s young death,

I lived beneath grief, paralyzed for months.

My eyes were bloodshot from reading

manuscripts and sobbing in business

meetings. At night, alone in bed, I cried again.

Friends came over, and neighbors. Cousins,

aunts, uncles, grandparents cared for you. Seeping

through the edges of my closed door, I heard laughter

over Monopoly, Chutes & Ladders, Go Fish.

I listened. Then watched. You played flashlight tag,

created human pyramids that tumbled into piles

of squirming bodies, all ages, wild laughter. Gradually,

something shifted, softened.

It’s my turn, I thought.

We started on the driveway, shooting hoops into

a free-standing basket, shortened for you. Then camping

trips, watching basketball games at the local college.

When you began high school, we grew strong

from long cross-country runs through Loblolly pines

and Maidenhair ferns in nearby woods, talking now, talking

and listening, words volleyed between athletic breaths.

Rory, I came back to life for you.


Christy Wise is a poet, essayist, and author. Her poems have appeared in Evening Street Press, Anthem, The Raven’s Perch and NEBO Literary Journal. She is co-author of “A Mouthful of Rivets: Women at Work in World War II” and author of “Banished to the Black Sea: Ovid’s Poetic Transformations in Tristia 1.1.” Wise lives in San Francisco and Washington DC.



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