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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 4, December 2018

Mary Ellen Gambutti
Sarasota, Florida, USA

My Empty Lot

At five, a neighboring lot possesses a vibrant legacy not yet known to me. Only the treasure of ‘now’ is mine. Here are native white birch with fragrant peeling bark, wiggling green catkins that, when ripe, I crumble in my fingers. Puddled rainwater cupped in black-striated clumps quenches sparrows’ thirst. Tall grasses and weeds scratch my legs, as I snip seed heads with tiny scissors. Blackberry thicket shelters a rabbit warren, and mice tracks are alive with curiosity. Sandy loam under my bare feet, a long ago river beach where gentle Lenni Lenape, indigenous people of northern New Jersey, camped, gardened, hunted.

Hot breezes gusting down Asbury Street blow grit into my eyes, etch and carve the sand for sparrows to dust-bathe. Blue jays screech and caw around me. Redbirds and robins sing for me, and I for them.

child with mother
works the beans —
stone, wood, bone  



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