Poet, writer, illustrator, Niki Leopold, gives us all permission to set some burdens down in this deceptively compact poem. Through her singular ability to reflect and deflect at the same moment, you may recognize the shadows that surround many of us as Father’s Day nears.



Beyond my pillow
the Arno
Carp are still.
No current discloses
source from destination.
Spring and sea
like two middle-aged
shoppers comparing
the virtues of
fresh water with salt.

My father once swam
in the Arno,
but, on vacation
from death,
I settle implacably
into the smooth sheets
of the present,
my old wishbones
to watch river-silk
wattle the ceiling.


…..“Vacation” first appeared in Commmonweal in September 2012.  It is reprinted here with the poet’s permission.

Niki LeopoldNiki Leopold taught for many years in Maryland’s Poets-in-the-Schools Program.  She has been widely published as a poet, notably in The American Scholar, Commonweal, and Poetry magazines.  Her chapbook,  Dark Feathers, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2004. Another, Small Pleasures, won the 2012 Blue Light Press contest. Holder of a Ph.D. In Art History as well as being a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars in Poetry, Ms. Leopold writes and illustrates children’s books.  Adam’s Crayons is her new one from Galileo Press.

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  • Toni Myers June 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I could live inside your poem and all its insights.
    Thank you. Toni