August 2008

Judith Westley


Judith Westley's poetry has appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, Switched-on Gutenberg, and American Poetry Review (Philly Edition). She received her M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College, and is a past recipient of a Window of Opportunity grant from the Leeway Foundation.

Cheticamp, August 1992    

And from all this, I am the only one who leaves—
from my tent with its sky-blue flap
my cup of cold water, stacked tin plates
my great love, poor choices, well-intentioned plans—
from this, I alone am leaving—

from the solitary roadside church
white, painted fresh—(I swoon in that raw scent)—
the doors unopened, the hymnals accounted-for.

The dark pews glisten.

From the beach and the steel-backed sea that does not disturb it.
The pink-skinned stones heaped like fruits in a market.

The screened-in porches
behind them solid pairs of freckled women
who cherish everything they ever had
—colanders, locks of hair, boys with soft shoulders, old magazines—
as they sit stitching rugs with faces of the famous and the dead.

For a long time, I have known there is nothing new.
Pale cords of wood
stoked in iron stoves
crumble ablaze.
Thoughtful men, shirts open, stroke
the soft flannel nap.
They look on. They call out AttendezAttendez!

Every place is like this one
cut into the stunned heart in the shapes of things, in the smells of things.
See the geese always returning
—arrows, ellipses, question marks—
a kinked black throat, one round cry—


Does it not
hang in the air?



Judith Westley: Poetry
Copyright ©2008 The Cortland Review Issue 40The Cortland Review