Laura Foley – Three Poems


Twice the Speed of Sound

She waves to me from the coach window,
shadowed glass reflecting summer trees,
her face dappled by a scree of boughs and leaves
I can’t see through—maples not yet reddening into fall—
as she rides one plane after another over no rough seas,
into no threatened war, no lack of easy communication;
still, the space expands like the universe:
galaxies begetting galaxies, worlds yet unnamed—
despite phone calls bouncing from one far-flung tower
to another, while our wide world keeps rolling under us,
at twice the speed of sound.


When I Went Out This Morning

When I went out this morning,
nothing unusual happened to me,
only my cleats keeping time
on ice-bound earth,
my dog’s easy loping alongside,
belying her claws clicking percussion,
down a hill so steep in the newborn sun
I nearly miss fox tracks
leading to woods,
the piteousness of doves
cooing over our heads,
reflecting wing-lights winking
like eyes as they pass—
nothing special to see
when I went out this morning.


The Wrangler

Does the Wyoming sun shine hot enough to make me sweat,
in my red-checked cowgirl shirt and dungarees?

As he holds the rope controlling Thunder, does he patiently explain
my pony’s name in his sonorous voice, Born in the midst of a storm?

Do we stop at an icy stream to dismount,
shucking our boots, as we prepare to wade,

a new word I repeat with sudden feeling,
as my feet freeze, as I see my first word at three.

Does he lead me gently as he did the pony, to sit shivering
while he gathers wood to build a fire to warm my feet?

Does he intuit what I like, or do we share the same taste
for fire-roasted hot dogs without mustard, ketchup?

Does he help me pull my boots back on,
teach me to mount the pony on my own?

Does he teach me how a father can be—
so different from mine, in his chilly New York City penthouse?


Laura Foley is the author of five poetry collections, including Joy Street, Syringa and Night Ringing. Her poem “Gratitude List” won the Common Good Books poetry contest and was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. Her poem “Nine Ways of Looking at Light” won the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, judged by Marge Piercy. A palliative care volunteer in hospitals, she lives with her partner and three big dogs among the hills of Vermont. More at