Issue > Poetry
Laura Swearingen-Steadwell

Laura Swearingen-Steadwell

Laura Swearingen-Steadwell is a Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow. She has an MFA from Warren Wilson's MFA Program for Writers. Her first book, How to Seduce a White Boy in Ten Easy Steps, was released by Write Bloody Publishing in 2011.


Eight hours standing, stocking beer coolers
before the local men shuffled in after work,
brown and worn from building in the sun,
or windburned, caked with ocean salt. I wiped fat
off the cylinders of the hot dog machine until
I smelled metal; made change; spoke to anyone:
the man who bought a Klondike Bar most afternoons,
the girl who brought tupperware of tuna poke
her mother made to sell. Mostly I was alone.
When I was sure they'd all gone home,
I flicked the lights and the locks.

I turned my back to town and walked
along stone walls studded with hibiscus and palms,
all blue so late. The street radiated fever.
The misanthropic sea hissed. Space grew long,
polishing its dark blade, stars two thousand nicks
on its edge. The old volcano beckoned me
to burn my loneliness, to sacrifice my silence
to the sky.


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Maureen Anne Sherbondy