Nancy Pulley

When I lost my parents, 
she was the one who entered
my room, dreamed
on the quilt beside me.  
The disappeared woman
who now waxes and wanes,
the mother in the moon, white fingers
on my forehead
as if searching for fever.   

Wild one eye, she sees
more than all the others;
down wells, into caves,
to find the power
that lies in the night
—bends to me,
her sleeping baby, 
as if I might not wake up.  I
hold her to me,
owls flying from her hair, 
and I am not afraid

of her, of the night, of
silver paths she paints
to woods.   Fear
has stolen so much --
but she comes
to take its sharp teeth
from under my pillow,
leaving herself at dawn
like a silver coin.

Author's Commentary: My mother died when I was ten years old, and, after more than 50 years, I am still creating poems for her.

Nancy Pulley

"As long as we are on earth, the love that unites us will bring us suffering by our very contact with one another because this love is the resetting of a body of broken bones."          
--Thomas Merton 

One came to you
under the white bones of sycamore
along a hidden creek
and you gathered him
to you as if his bones
were water.

Another entered your house
in winter. The world
was down to bare bones
and your fireplace
warmed him to the marrow.

One came into your sleeping bag
and that night you
couldn’t tell your cheekbone
from his breastbone.

One gave you the skull
of a raccoon, proud
as a cat dragging
a dead mouse to your door. 

You hear them in your mind--
leaving and returning, steps
going down the stairs, doors
closing at night.  What will you do? 

Your rib cage still holds a fluttering bird.
Already, you plan the next meal,
hear the sound of his tongue and lips
as they pick clean the bones you will offer.

Author's Commentary:I loved and copied the Thomas Merton quote about a body of broken bones a long time ago during a visit to New Harmony, Indiana. After 35 revisions, this poem is totally different than the first draft.



Nancy Pulley is a graduate of Indiana Central College—now the University of Indianapolis. Her poems have appeared in many journals and publications, including The Flying Island and The Sycamore Review. Nancy has published two poetry chapbooks and in 2014, her first full length poetry book, Warren Avenue, was published by Chatterhouse Press. You can find her online at