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By Cathy Smith Bowers

I collect them now, it seems. Like

sea-shells or old

thimbles. One for

Father. One for


Mother. Two for my sweet brothers.

Odd how little

they require of

me. Unlike the


ones they were sent in memory

of. No sudden

shrilling of the

phone. No harried


midnight flights. Only a little

water now and

then. Scant food and

light. See how I’ve


brought them all together here in

this shaded space

beyond the stairs.

Even when they


thirst, they summon me with nothing

more than a soft,

indifferent furl-

ing of their leaves.


Poem copyright ©2004 by Cathy Smith Bowers, whose most recent book of poetry is The Candle I Hold Up to See You, Iris Press, 2009. Poem reprinted from A Book of Minutes, Iris Press, 2004, by permission of Cathy Smith Bowers and the publisher.

Poet Bio

Cathy Smith Bowers
A native of South Carolina, poet Cathy Smith Bowers earned a BA and an MAT at Winthrop University. As a high-school English teacher, she discovered her urge to write. In an interview, she noted of that time, “I stayed one lesson ahead of my students. I had to do that to be a writer. It was huge.” For many years the poet-in-residence at Queens University of Charlotte, Bowers currently teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Queens, as well as at Wofford College. From 2010 to 2012, she was poet laureate of North Carolina.