I grew up walking long, fallow fields.
I only had my dog. Summers,
we startled pheasants and garter snakes,
once a muskrat, when I was very young,
before the boys from St. Hedwig
skinned the snakes and tossed them
in the swale. I was always afraid
to look them in the eye,
snake and boy.
Winters, I side-stepped downhill
to the ice, unsteady on slim steel blades.
My father showed me the bound bodies—
carp, caught frozen under the surface.
We skated over the doomed fish, eyes open,
unblinking—shadows still, deep, clear.
Photo by Roman Grachev on Unsplash
Sheryl White is an artist and writer living in Boston. Her writing has been published in The Comstock Review, Blast Furnace, Solstice Literary Magazine, Roanoke Review, The Boston Globe, Split Rock Review, Gravel, The Woven Tale Press magazine, and others. In 2016, she received a Mass Cultural Council Poetry Finalist Grant and was selected in 2016 and 2017 for the Mayor of Boston Poetry Program. In 2019, her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart. Sky gone, her chapbook, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2020. She is a Coordinator of Visitor Engagement and Exhibitions at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University where she has taught poetry workshops, initiated a haiku outreach during COVID-19, curates art exhibitions, and has overseen the Arboretum’s first free theater productions in the landscape. As a professional artist she has been represented in many solo, group, and invitational shows. White grew up in Michigan and attended the University of Michigan. She now lives in Boston with her husband and has adult daughters in Chicago and Montana.