Sunday, March 7, 2021


Yesterday I had a bunch of this-n-that things to do in the kitchen: make bread (oatmeal and spelt), boil beets (to refrigerate for salads this week), and concoct a fresh batch of preserved lemons, which I love in chicken dishes and salads and rice pilaf and such. They are easy to make, and fun, and pretty, and keep indefinitely. All I do is crush fresh lemons, salt, and a few optional spices into a quart mason jar. I prefer to use Meyer lemons, which have a delicious scent and are very juicy, but any lemon will do. I let them sit on a warm shelf for a few days and then refrigerate them. The recipe says refrigeration is unnecessary, but I don't have a better place to keep them, and the cold doesn't do any harm.

This morning I managed to foil the cat and sleep in till 6 a.m.--miraculously late, as far as I'm concerned. I woke out of a dream involving a local public radio personality and her three dirty cars. She lived next door or something, though not by this house, and I was entertaining friends from Brooklyn, and we were looking out the window at her cars, which were plastered from top to bottom in thick mud, and everyone was in a really good mood. The End. 

Yesterday I basked in  a tiny fillip of sweetness when an acquaintance told me that one of my favorite poets believes that I have written a perfect sonnet. I still cannot believe he said that; I didn't know he'd even read the piece.

Perfect. That cannot possibly be true. And indeed my first reaction is to squinch my eyes shut and tap into my New England dourness and say Dawn, don't you let yourself believe any such thing. And my second reaction is to say I wrote that poem. I wrote that poem.


Confused Prayer


Dawn Potter



Faith is a tattered blanket in this age

            of fear: a drape of old skin, soul’s girth

            swelling with sugar-song, a late-stage

hymn soldering heaven to earth:


Engines mocking grace, a chief sinner’s sour

            breath, turgid air and guns and tiers

            of empty seats, a hundred tweets an hour:

God’s waiting room, fouled with jeers:


Fog spreading skirts over the city; a wet-salt kiss;

            ordinary patience, a tiny hope-chest

of wonders, a mirror shrouded in mist;

our two bodies alive, awake, undressed:


            Cow-bells clanking in the summer dark. Hearts’ blood

            Pulsing, pulsing. Brown doves crooning in a quiet wood.

[first published in Vox Populi, 2020]


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