Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Household Nocturne
by Susan Grafeld Long

I have gone to bed early in my white cotton gown
in which I am lonely
but bright as bone on a sheet of x-ray film.

In his small blue room, my young son is curled
like nutmeat into the folds of quilt,
the black cat snoring at his feet.

From the attic room come fragile lalala’s 
as my daughter practices her scales in front of a mirror.
Somewhere downstairs a spoon strikes  

a repeating metallic note
against the inside curve of a kitchen bowl
as my husband eats his ice cream

and reads Dostoyevsky.
The quiet in the house has nowhere to go 
so it becomes light

and pools in the old, wavy window glass.
The widow next door has sculpted a totem of women
to watch over her moonlit garden.

Something of me is out there tonight
Snout down, foraging 
through the pale cabbages.

Susan Grafeld Long has lived in Arlington for forty years. She taught at Marymount University and Trinity Washington, where she developed the writing skills center. She has also been a reporter, editor, speechwriter, and public affairs director at the US Department of Health and Human Services. Her poetry has appeared in Carolina QuarterlyNotre Dame ReviewPoet LoreJAMA Journal of the American Medical Association, and others. She is a recipient of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry. “Household Nocturne” first appeared in Clackamas Literary Review.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

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