Maria McLeod

She Wants

to protect herself
from recollection.
To think back is to enter her parent's
house, nothing left but a child's 
cryptic script.  Her mother's voice
is an apparition
she reads as warning
of her world without end, a loop 
a daughter hopes to fall out of.  
Refuge is a self
inserted inside a self, slick as the space
between two teeth. She allows herself 
to linger. Even now,
when her palms want to lift 
in praise of recollection,
she keeps them still 
beneath her, and the past shrinks
to another abstract sentence: the place 
we keep returning to is the place
we've just left from.  It's the punctuation
she'll end with:  a period, 
an exclamation point, a question mark. 


Maria McLeod writes poetry, fiction, monologues, and plays—three of which have been performed on stage. Honors include three Pushcart Prize nominations and the Indiana Review Poetry Prize. Originally from the Detroit area, she resides in Bellingham, Wash., where she is an associate professor of journalism at Western Washington University.