The Thought of Losing You

stiffens me.

I am a felled
tree petrified
in seconds, not

I am a bird
running (not
flying), crushed
between avalanche
and sandstone, my bones
cross-stitching strata
of pre-history.
What use
are slow wings?

Looking back
at our chain-linked
lives, I become
Lot’s wife, but harder:
granite the bleached
white of table salt.

How much better
to be the blackened
timber of the jetty,
the last surface
to hold you before
whatever grows
inside you
compels you
to dive.


Spinning Out

The world was speeding past us, then speeding back.
My mother and I sat alone in a sad motel.
I watched cars on the television circle a track.

I held in my hand a crumbling pack
of peanut butter crackers. My mother’s hand held
a cigarette. The world sped past us, then sped back.

A suitcase held my things. A paper sack
held hers. She was trying to save us. Anyone could tell.
I watched cars on the television circle a track.

My grown sister said, “No room.” Her jaw didn’t slack
until my mother cranked up the Oldsmobile.
The world was speeding past us, then speeding back.

We never watched racing at home. Would all of them wreck?
But the roar of the engines at least drowned out the swell
of silence in my ears. Cars circled the track

until my mother said, “Let’s go.” I felt the crack
in the earth dust over then. It would not heal.
The world was speeding past us, a dangerous track.
My mother drove us home the long way back.


Jo Angela Edwins has published poems in various venues, recently or forthcoming in LEON Literary ReviewThe Sunlight PressBracken, and Mom Egg Review. Her chapbook Play was published in 2016. She has received awards from Winning Writers, Poetry Super Highway, and the SC Academy of Authors and is a Pushcart Prize, Forward Prize, and Bettering American Poetry nominee. She lives in Florence, SC, where she serves as the first poet laureate of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.