Two Poems by Judith O’Connell Hoyer

My Friend and I

Drive to this garden of wildflowers
set around a glacial pond,
the heavenly opposite of thirst.
Water shinnies down crystal ropes.
We walk on a path of crushed stone.
There are asters and lady slippers.
There is yarrow. So much in bloom.
We pause to hear a herd of sudden rain
stampede across our raised umbrellas.
Ferns lick the wet air
wanting more of what they already have.
We speak loudly to be heard,
“Look, witch hazel. Look, iris.
Look, white violets.”
There are voices beyond.
We are not alone. They are not alone.
We follow them – the spiderwort, I mean,
the moss, the turtles on a log,
until we are where we began,
outside where the car is parked.


Who I Am

I want to remember my imaginary friend Mary,
then call her in from where I left her in the street
when I was five, before she gets run over again.

I want to remember my grandmother calling me
a brazen hussy, a proud haughty when she caught me
preening in her bedroom mirror.

I want to remember when I wished my name was Deirdre,
wished for a night at Billy Bob’s Fort Worth honky tonk
stomping in my straight-legged jeans and killer cowgirl boots.

I want to remember to shinny into my aqua St John knit
when I’m 80, the one with the gold belt buckle that clicks shut,
the one I bought for my 40th.

I want to remember the fine powder of anticipation, how it clings
to everything that’s vital and worth being bad for.

I want to remember that you are the only one, you with your
left-handedness and shirts with a pocket over your heart.

I want to remember being out there with Mary, feet bare,
lifting the hems of our sundresses to catch a summer shower
as it dashes down noisy and necessary.




Judith O’Connell Hoyer’s 2017 chapbook Bits and Pieces Set Aside was nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award by the publisher of Finishing Line Press. Her full-length book, Imagine That, is forthcoming from Future Cycle Press in March 2023. Judith’s poems can be found in publications that include CALYX, Cider Press Review, Southwest Review, The Galway Review (Ireland), The Moth Magazine (Ireland), The New York Times Metropolitan Diary, and The Worcester Review among others. She splits her time between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 

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