Staying with Mrs. West

by | Feb 3, 2021 | Poetry

Stooping through the little door
of her chicken coop, the one
with the gun nailed above the sill,
we entered the gloom
of cluck and murmur.
Earlier she’d told me out by the clothesline
—white sleeves slapping above my head—
Anne, you’ll need to learn to work hard
because those Russians are going to take our land

but here we were in a dusky,
comforting country where time slowed
then seemed to almost stop
like all those years of the chair placed
beside her husband’s bed. Sometimes
when he was having a bad time of it
she’d let me sit at the top of the stairs
and listen as she played the mandolin for hours.
Strange now to realize he’d been back from the war
for forty years and yet his lungs
—those ravaged battle grounds—
would still outlast her playing by a decade.
But for that moment, there we were
in the murky hen house
and I still had no idea what would happen next
after she selected one hen
and carried it under her arm to the waiting yard.





Photo used under CC

About The Author


Annie Deppe is the author of Sitting in the Sky (2003) and Wren Cantata (2009), both published in Ireland by Summer Palace Press. Her third collection, Night Collage, is forthcoming in 2021 in Ireland from Arlen House. Her work has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review,
The Stinging Fly, Sojourners, and The Forward Book of Poetry 2004. Born in New England, she is a dual Irish-US citizen and makes her home on the coast of Connemara.

Books by Annie Deppe

Annie Deppe