Summer 03


Between Worlds, Refuge




The week bombs poured like confetti
over Arab skies, spring finally came
without fanfare or desire, and my

son was so mad, he wanted to hit
his brother for tripping him upstairs,
and I wanted to pummel them both

for the noise and laundry. It happened
the way leaves finally burst always
later than we think: my neighbor beat

his pet rabbit to death on his lawn,
the neighborhood kids at a safe
distance, intrigued adults can go

as berserk as we threaten. He hung
it on the Japanese Plum starting
to flower, and no one knew what

to do when he said It bit me, you know.
His hands were shaking a little, just
enough, I knew he wanted someone

to forgive him, a thing I couldn’t do,
so I went inside, laid my hands against
a bare wall over years of my son's

fingerprints, as if they were my alibi,
not the evidence that implicates us all,
the stairwell leading nowhere but up

and down, a conduit between worlds,
refuge as transitory as the petals
of a Plum tree blown across my lawn.


Laura McCullough is on the faculty of the English Dept. at Brookdale Community College in NJ where she Chairs the Visiting Writers Series. She has an MFA from Goddard College, has won a NJ State Arts Council Fellowship, and recently was awarded a Dodge Foundation Scholarship to attend the Fine Arts Center in Provincetown. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Paterson Literary Review, Exquisite Corpse, Poetry Motel, Faultline, The Journal of Art and Literature, In Posse, Slant Review, SteelPoint, and others.