“Stay” by Ron Mohring

This tiny hunched woman pulling into the spot facing
me—her stunning white hair, arthritic hands clawing
the wheel—both is and is not my mother’s dear friend
Bonnie, who admonished as I pulled bee balm from
her flower beds, leaving clumps here and there, Yank
it all! It’ll come back. In a rush fifty years later, it does,
it comes back, here in the garden center parking lot,
light rain spangling the windshield, a blue heron
muscling its remarkable engine through the gray sky
toward the river, the same bird that fished our pond
where I would row the blue boat out to the middle
just to be alone. I’d round a corner and the heron
would unclamp and vault from a half-sunken branch,
glide beyond the next clump of trees. Sullen old man,
I thought. And: stay. I’m here to look, to touch more
things I can’t afford, to dream of having space to care
for them all.


Ron Mohring is the indefatigable force behind Seven Kitchens Press. His first book, Survivable World, won the Washington Prize; a new manuscript, The Boy Who Reads in the Trees, is slowly coming together. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his scandalously young husband.