“brief encounters” * Poetry * Sister Lou Ella Hickman

winter night the flame whiff of logs
down the street somewhere

she kept her dad’s clothes hidden in a closet
to embrace his lingering presence

yesterday someone made a wrong turn
discovering lawns of fresh cut grass

low tide in the bay

pond water close by

baling hay

a son’s pair of smelly socks

a friend’s new car
two women chatter on the way to lunch

open the glass door to grandma’s china cabinet
oh the perfume of old wood

do people still use moth balls

july heat shrouding asphalt workers

end of rain at dusk

like music poetry dance
fragrance is everywhere
as if waiting

and so close one can almost taste it
as the saying goes

–About the Author—

Sister Lou Ella Hickman, OVISS, is a former teacher and librarian whose writings have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Press 53 published her first book of poetry in 2015 entitled she: robed and wordless. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2017 and in 2020. James Lee III composed “Chavah’s Daughters Speak” for a concert held on May 11, 2021, at 92Y in New York City for five poems from her book. Another concert was held in Cleveland, Ohio on March 28, 2023, sponsored by the Cleveland Chamber Music Society.

—About the Image—

From NYPL Digital Collections: “China cabinet in home of fruit farmer. Placer County, California. These fruit specialists have had a high standard of living, are now losing their farms.

Photo located  in The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection

United States. Farm Security Administration

Date: 1940. PHOTOGRAPHER: Lee, Russell, 1903-1986.