Sandra McPherson



I accompany this life’ s events like a personal journalist:
“Little did she know when she got in the car that afternoon...”;
or “Despite inauspicious beginnings,
this was to be their happiest year.”

Little did I expect that our horoscopes would prove true.
And how could we foresee an answer to
that frankly secular prayer, we with so little faith
as to be false prophets to our most fortunate gifts.

For Elizabeth Bishop

The child I left your class to have
Later had a habit of sleeping
With her arms around a globe
She’ d unscrewed, dropped, and dented.
I always felt she could possess it,
The pink countries and the mauve
And the ocean which got to keep its blue.
Coming from the Southern Hemisphere to teach,
Which you had never had to do, you took
A bare-walled room, alone, its northern


We are dropping one and gaining two — .
The things I cannot do

include to sleep,
to calm the spillway of the blood,

to face an auditorium,
wishing it were churchy pillbox hats —

recital mothers’ —
with no sense of Vogue or the Baroque.

I’ ve other pills
to tramp on grief,

estrange pain,
and hatch the part of waking that is dreams,

double one dose to un-depress
and to write less and less

a chronicle of anxiety.

I spot-treat
a spate of addiction