Terry Hall Bodine

Flour, sugar, salt come dressed
in flowers of every color, the feed sacks
stacked in our pantry printed with patterns
for aprons, for a doll. Auntie says

A farm has bigger needs than silly playthings for a child. 

On the quilt that blooms in my narrow room
I find roses, mums, and sometimes the line
of an arm or leg, limbs strewn like straw
from a scarecrow after summer

thunderstorms. Stitched to a spray of poppies
is the mitten curve of hand. On nights
when the wind is insistent and bitter
I hold this till I sleep.

Terry Hall Bodine

Twisters last just minutes; the afterwards
lasts days, or months. You don’t stock  

the cellar for storms. You stock
for what’s in store.

two wool blankets, canvas tarp
crate of last summer’s canned
tomatoes, peaches, pickles, beans
10 lbs. sugar, 10 lbs. flour
two cans of Eight O’Clock
church key, hammer, three dented spoons
one roll of chicken wire
six tallow candles, matches and flint
three jugs water
(a small tin of dog biscuits
hidden back behind the beans)

Auntie grabbed the brown velvet
family Bible every time she
took shelter. Uncle swore

that if the Lord let a twister take
what little farm we had, 
he had no truck for God.

Terry Hall Bodine

A childless aunt is not a mother.

A spare room is not a child’s room.

A spoonful of ipecac is never tender.

Photographs on the bureau are not memories.

A dog can be a confidante, but not the way a sister
is who braids your hair and shares her shoes and tells on a boy
she might have kissed one spring in the old storm cellar.

Scarecrows aren’t playmates.  Neither are crows.

Author's Commentary: The poems included in this issue are taken from my manuscript Two Halves Can Leave a Hole, which uses the people and settings of the 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz as a framework for an exploration of loneliness.

Terry Bodine Pic.jpeg

Born in Roanoke, Terry Hall Bodine attended the College of William & Mary, and is currently the housing coordinator at University of Lynchburg. Her recent publication credits include The Tishman Review, Third Wednesday, Passager, and Typishly.