Sherry Poff


The house we lived in
has been razed,
releasing memories
within its walls:

the night we both had the flu
the day I burned the eggs
our baby’s first cries
childish laughter and soft hand claps
for Christmas lights strung on the bed.

On a long summer evening,
I drove up the old lane,
listened in vain
for voices drifting among the trees,
strained my eyes
for a figure waiting patiently
on abandoned concrete steps.
The ghostly yard
shimmered in the half light–
tangled vines,
mute piles of dirt.

at the top of the hill,
Memory found me
standing in darkness
on a neighbor’s vacant porch,
overlooking the silent street.



Light glazes the streambed
and water ripples the shallows
beneath rhododendron
thick with pink blossoms,
heavy with foliage.

On the bank, carpeted in pine,
four children form boats
from sticks and leathery leaves,
launch them along the sandy bank,
watch the boats sail away
among the rocks, braving dangers
of white rapids, heedless water moccasins,
night rains.

Two miles downstream,
the leaf boats enter the Guyandotte
hear whispers of the Iroquois,
feel the surge of the current.
Their shadows darken crayfish
and sail on, bump against logs
pause in sunny spots,
whirl in eddys, confused
for a moment only.

They carry their dream cargo all the way
to the Ohio, down the Mississippi
and out into the wide, wide world,
never forgetting the creek bank
fragrant with moss and pine,
the cool shade, the soft sand,
and the hands that set them free.


Sherry Poff grew up in the hills of West Virginia. She now lives and writes in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she interacts with a large group of students and family members. Sherry holds an MA in Writing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is a member of the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild. Her stories and poems have appeared recently in American Diversity Report, Heart of Flesh, and Speckled Trout Review. Sherry’s short poem “Resurrection,” published in Liquid Imagination, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.