Hannah Newman

In the boxes that are left apples glaze with dust


And in the middle of all the china –
tea cups and saucers, ceramic tureens,

sugar bowls with a crystal of sweet left
inside, salad plates and hi-ball glasses

swirled with holiday print, three glass
butter dishes and the first salt and

pepper shakers you owned, single-stem vases
and candy dishes from your second

husband, champagne glasses from your third
– you asked me what I wanted,

held up your favorite porcelain –
the one from the barn-doored market

alongside a sleep-sogged marina,
from a day when you had nowhere to be

but under the buttermilk sky
breathing in the smooth blue

paisley of dishes your
someday daughters might love.

And when I said nothing you lost
the air stuck in your throat.

And when you said nothing, I knew
that you too would rather teach me

how to roast the chicken,
how to buy a blouse that lasts all

day, days, years until the color slips from
cotton, how to reread a note and remember

someone thought of you, how
to make the bed so the top sheet

is smooth as squash soup, how
to pot the twisted vines

of the Pothos plant, to remember
the furled lines of our great great someone’s –

And when I said nothing
you pressed the smooth stone into my palms,

lay clotted cream along my forearms,
tasked me with knowing how to take.


Hannah Newman is a founding Editor-in-Chief of Sweet Tree Review and a poetry editor for the Bellingham Review. An MFA candidate at Western Washington University, she is currently working on a collection of short stories about women, power, and botany. She has previously worked as Editor-in-Chief for Jeopardy Magazine and Literary Editor for Spindrift Magazine. When she isn’t writing, you can find her indulging in expensive cheese, old books, and too many cups of coffee.

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