This week’s poem offers a glimpse into a story of summer, siblings and transitions. I love poet Michelle Menting’s vivid details of sisters and brothers around a fire, and the subtle poignancy with which she suggests the endings, changes and unspoken questions hanging thick in the air between them.

Menting is the author of three collections of poetry: the full-length “Leaves Surface Like Skin” (Terrapin Books) and two poetry chapbooks. She writes poems, essays, and stories, some of which have appeared or are forthcoming in Verse Daily, American Life in Poetry, Diagram, Midwestern Gothic and New South, among others. She lives near Whitefield.



By Michelle Menting


When he came home, he was under house

arrest and wore a bracelet on his left ankle.

I joked with my sister about our brother,

how he was like a character in a sci-fi film,

and if he ran away, past the driveway at night,

an alarm would sound, the cops would come,

and surely his ankle would explode like confetti.

We laughed hard at this, not to be cruel,

but maybe just stupid, so young and so full

of late-night movies we captured on cable.

One August night around the fire pit

in our backyard, we soaked corn, dampened

the ears before placing the husks over the fire.

The green hissed then steamed; the coals popped

but didn’t escape. When my brother grabbed

a stick and raked the ashes, I leaned forward

and touched his ankle band. Overhead, loons

passed by, reminding us of our lake, our woods,

the goodness of summer, and all of it ending.

Still we sat on oak stumps cut clean on each end.

Lumberjack furniture. Yeah, he said, it’s for real

but it won’t stay forever. This piece of jewelry

that made him interesting. Because before

all of this, my brother would never have roasted

corn with his sisters on a clear summer night

when there was so much running to do.

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Homecoming” copyright © 2010 by Michelle Menting, reprinted from “Leaves Surface Like Skin” (Terrapin Books, 2017). It appears by permission of the author.

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