Like a Maelstrom with a Notch by Lois Marie Harrod


“Like a Maelstrom with a Notch” by Lois Marie Harrod


             Emily Dickinson


And when the clothing factory collapsed
in Dhaka, Bangladesh, one young seamstress
was trapped in the Muslim prayer room
which also stored boxes of skirts and shawls,
shirts, sheers, socks and sequins,
and for those in need, a few prayer cloths
thrown over pipes and stretching to a strut or two.

And when that nineteen-year-old was rescued,
it was a miracle because we wanted to believe
that we too can survive, ignorant and inventive,
disregarding the adjacent, the close-by distant
dead, sucking air through shaky pipes, licking
the leaking rain, yes, washing our faces, knowing
whatever those gods of mercy had done to others
they had not yet done it to us. That miracle.

And of course, to keep sane, she did find things to do,
packed and unpacked the boxes of saris in her little room,
maybe the first she had ever had to herself,
changed her clothes repeatedly as teenagers do,
why not, hadn’t she always wanted to try them on?–
so that after seventeen days when someone at last
heard her cry, she was wearing a radiant red scarf
around her neck, as if she had just tripped off a runway–
a scarf any one of us might buy for almost nothing.


             published Naugatuck River Review



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Lois Marie Harrod Artist Statement: 

Lois Marie Harrod’s most recent collection Nightmares of the Minor Poet appears in June from
Five Oaks. Her chapbook And She Took the Heart appeared in January 2016, and her 13th and
14th poetry collections, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the
chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. The Only
Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection
of poems about teachers and teaching was published by Black Buzzard Press, 2011.
Cosmogony won the 2010 Hazel Lipa Chapbook (Iowa State). She is widely published in
literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches
Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey. Links to her online work at

Author: A Room of Her Own

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