Sunday, March 13, 2022


Thanks to Kim Tedrow of Lincoln, Nebraska for her modeling a poem after my "Two Gates." This is part of her 30-day commitment to write a poem a day for Tupelo Press's 30/30 Project, a fundraiser: "Each month, volunteer poets run the equivalent of a "poetry marathon," writing 30 poems in 30 days, while the rest of us sponsor and encourage them every step of the way.

Here is my poem:


I look through glass and see a young woman
of twenty, washing dishes, and the window
turns into a painting. She is myself thirty years ago.
She holds the same blue bowls and brass teapot
I still own. I see her outline against lamplight;
she knows only her side of the pane. The porch
where I stand is empty. Sunlight fades. I hear
water run in the sink as she lowers her head,
blind to the future. She does not imagine I exist.

I step forward for a better look and she dissolves
into lumber and paint. A gate I passed through
to the next life loses shape. Once more I stand
squared into the present, among maple trees
and scissor-tailed birds, in a garden, almost
a mother to that faint, distant woman.

And here is Kim Tedrow's poem "after" this one: Zoom Meeting / Kim Tedrow

after Denise Low

I look at myself on the screen

and I see myself at twenty,
hair straight and long, parted
down the middle for the first time
since before I knew myself,
except now I’m paying attention.
I see her loneliness as a quarry
from which she mines men
to whom she is disposable.
She wakes in someone’s home
and leaves without her shoes
so as not to wake him.
She wants to be a secret.
Her apartment overlooks a lot
where musicians park by the bar.
Later she goes there to dance.
Gladiolas grow next to the stairs.
Her father stops by
when she is not there
and tucks a picture of himself
into the door frame. She writes
“I could not bear to lose him.”
I see her and bring her back
to myself. She does not want to come
here–she cannot imagine the life
we live now–alone and happy.
In the meeting when it’s my turn
I speak up, I make myself known.

Kim Tedrow works as a Science Writer in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has a Master of Arts in creative writing from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She’s been published in Prairie Schooner and several anthologies, including Nasty Women Poets: an Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane. She lives in a cute little granny house with three cats.