Shawna Norton

Like Lightning

Swiftly through dew-drenched
grass, we chase with cupped hands that
long to hold starlight.


Raising Walls

My father always said an apple doesn’t fall
far from its tree.

We have been in this small town for four
generations; this house, on the last
of Nono O’s farmland. This house, built
with borrowed time, favors
and friendships, built by the hands
that roll out dough beneath Aunt Tessie’s polenta pot
secured to the wooden beam. That practiced
pot would make its appearance as a hat, one of the last
times I would see my cousin. This house
was built by shenanigans, more than anything else.

I come from clutter; I come from shelves,
handmade, hand-me-downs and hand-outs,
like the stone bench that stood for almost thirty years
on the hill in our front yard where we would sled,
dodging trees and dog shit. It crumbled last winter,
and we no longer sled, as much, anymore–but we still
imagine, we still chase moonlight out in the open field.

On the wall is a photograph of this plot before
it was parceled up and passed on. I come from four
generations of dreamers and doers; I come
from walls raised up by hands that raised me.


Shawna Norton received her MA in English Literature from the University of Vermont. She currently teaches 7th and 8th grade at the Susan Odell Taylor School. She lives and works in Troy, NY.

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