by Lavonne Adams

The fan on the far side of my window
and one story down is shrieking
its regrets as corrosion clots whatever
gears make the whole thing work. At least,
that’s what I believe as I pull myself
from sleep into consciousness.
But it takes only a moment to realize
that the sound I heard was really the train
making its nightly foray through town—
a zipper latching neighborhoods together.
How many years has it been since that
whistle ceased to speak of yearning,
became, instead, like morning’s first flight
lifting from the tarmac ten miles away,
ten minutes before NPR’s modulated news
spills across my bed? How much seems a slip-
knot from rote, like miming prayers
in church while our schoolchild minds
run up and down distant hills? Even now,
there’s a sense that we all hypothesize
our lives a half-note from what’s real,
and tell ourselves Who wants what’s real anyway?
until the moment something we can’t make better
settles like a bear on our hibernating hearts.
And we can’t deny our flesh, and we won’t
forgive the fallacy of those dreams.


Lavonne J. Adams is the author of Through the Glorieta Pass (Pearl Editions, 2009), and two award-winning chapbooks, In the Shadow of the Mountain and Everyday Still Life. Her journal publications include the Missouri Review, Poet Lore, Southern Humanities Reviewand The Southern Poetry Review. She completed residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Harwood Museum of Art, Taos. She teaches at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she is the MFA Coordinator.