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By Rachel Sherwood

As this suburban summer wanders toward dark

cats watch from their driveways — they are bored

and await miracles. The houses show, through windows

flashes of knife and fork, the blue light

of televisions, inconsequential fights

between wife and husband in the guest bathroom


voices sound like echoes in these streets

the chattering of awful boys as they plot

behind the juniper and ivy, miniature guerillas

that mimic the ancient news of the world

and shout threats, piped high across mock fences

to girls riding by in the last pieces of light


the color of the sky makes brilliant reflection

in the water and oil along the curb

deepened aqua and the sharp pure rose of the clouds

there is no sun or moon, few stars wheel

above the domestic scene — this half-lit world

still, quiet calming the dogs worried by distant alarms


there — a woman in a window washes a glass

a man across the street laughs through an open door

utterly alien, alone. There is a time, seconds between

the last light and the dark stretch ahead, when color

is lost — the girl on her swing becomes a swift

apparition, black and white flowing suddenly into night.


Rachel Sherwood, "The World in the Evening" from Mysteries of Afternoon and Evening. Copyright © 1981 by David Trinidad. Reprinted by permission of David Trinidad.

Source: Mysteries of Afternoon and Evening (Sherwood Press/Yarmouth Press, 1981)

  • Nature

Poet Bio

Rachel Sherwood was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Southern California. She attended St. David’s University College in Wales and California State University Northridge. She died in an automobile accident in 1979, at the age of 25. At the time of her death, Sherwood was enrolled as a graduate student at Cal State Northridge and was employed there as a teacher of English composition. To preserve Sherwood’s memory, her friends established the Rachel Sherwood Poetry Prize at Northridge; the award is given annually to a student poet. 

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