I miss the grain of Ralph, and the grain

of Ed, and Trixie’s grain, and especially

the grain of Alice, whose pretty, pointed body

would never, ever land on the moon. Alice

was earthbound; Alice was of 

the street, and the bus, and I savored

her tenement kitchen, her world 

of the single bulb and supper, silvery, 

black and white, wrong and right as 

the mopped floor. And Alice was strong: she loved

her husband, no matter how many times

he threatened to send her up—

To the moon, Alice!—his fist high

in the grainy air of their bare room;

she knew where the moon really was

as the music swelled at the end

and she fell, every time, into his

big bag of a kiss like a clear and close

star. And their apartment was gray

as a lunar surface—gray grain on the

small set I’d inherited from my great aunt,

whose name was Dolly, who lived all

her older life with her mother, whose name

was Daisy; imagine, the two of them, years

in a house as modest and low and dark as a brick.

No man, no moon for them. But I think

they went to the World’s Fair in Chicago,

and maybe—I picture them—maybe they stood 

and considered the Sky Ride: gloves, a brochure

between them, and Look, Dolly—

a thrilling ride across the lagoon.



Laura Newbern’s Love and the Eye was selected by Claudia Rankine as the winner of the 2010 Kore Press First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, the Oxford American, TriQuarterly, and Stand, and in the anthologies Best New Poets and Urban Nature. An associate professor of English and creative writing at Georgia College and State University, Newbern serves as the poetry editor of Arts & Letters. Her other honors include a residency at Yaddo and a Writer’s Award from the Rona Jaffe Foundation.