Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate.

Today Dawn Potter of Harmony offers a description of home life in Maine that never appeared in tourist brochures.


By Dawn Potter

So wild it was when we first settled here.

Spruce roots invaded the cellar like thieves.

Skunks bred on the doorstep, cluster flies jeered.

Ice-melt dripped shingles and screws from the eaves.

We slept by the stove, we ate meals with our hands.

At dusk we heard gunshots, and wind and guitars.

We imagined a house with a faucet that ran

From a well that held water. We canvassed the stars.

If love is an island, what map was our hovel?

Dogs howled on the mainland, our cliff washed away.

We hunted for clues with a broken-backed shovel.

We drank all the wine, night dwindled to grey.

When we left, a flat sunrise was threatening snow,

But the frost heaves were deep. We had to drive slow.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2014 Dawn Potter. Reprinted from “Same Old Story,” CavanKerry Press, 2014, by permission of Dawn Potter. Please note that the column is no longer accepting submissions; comments about it may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc at [email protected] or 228-8263. “Take Heart: More Poems from Maine,” a brand new anthology collecting the final two and a half years of this column, will be available late this year from Down East Books.

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