Ambitions

 
Ruskin acclaims valleys not wide,
forests of no extent, because they are
of England, his home country.

The child furnishes a dollhouse
with a spool table, wine cork stools,
a sardine can and its bathtub possibilities,
the content of her own construction.
 

               §

 
Bachelard advances the theory
that any goal appears to be
in miniature, away on the horizon.

The girl continues, building a dresser
by stacking matchboxes
for drawers, with an ambition
already close enough to burning.
 

               §

 
And the days on which nothing
was written, who will ever know
if they were of no note,

or the woman has come to
glory in tending to the need
of napkins to be put in rings, the feeding
of vases with the slim stems of flowers.

 

 

 

Rose McLarneyRose McLarney’s collections of poems are Forage, forthcoming in September 2019, and Its Day Being Gone, winner of the National Poetry Series, both from Penguin Books, as well as The Always Broken Plates of Mountains, published by Four Way Books. She is co-editor of Southern Humanities Review and A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, forthcoming from University of Georgia Press in October 2019. She is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Auburn University.
 
Read poetry by Rose McLarney plus Rose’s three-poem Letter to America, previously appearing in Terrain.org.

Header photo by VICUSCHKA, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Rose McLarney by Nicole McConville Photography.

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