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© 2005 - 2008 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas. 







I have stood so long in this place

I have lost account of my face.

I have stared so hard at this tree

I am grown blossomy.


In my branches, words

Bicker like birds.






We went to gather beach plums while the moon rose

Tremulous, large, impatient from the sea,

Turning our pails to canisters of silver,

Making a fable of the fruit-thick tree.


The sea in glimmering cowl paced back and forth

Chanting a watery “Anguish!” or “Rejoice!”

We had come to gather purple plums by moonlight

And we made our choice.


Sand holds the warmth of sun when day is over;

Rabbitgrass leans to the path the wind went through.

When we left there was moonlight paling over the water

And in our buckets, a plum or two.






The day I die

May not dawn fair

But, later, afternoon

Will clear.


A gawky breeze,

Say South-Southwest,

Will hesitantly

Touch your face;


And where you go

To choose my grave

Flowers will lie

All night for love—


Mosses and stones,

Thin-fingered twigs,

Leaves with the sun

Ablaze in their ribs,


And the soft, incon-

Sequential rain.

And so I’ll not

Leave you alone.






Three Poems by Elizabeth McFarland from Over the Summer Water (Arlington, VA: Orchises Press, 2008)