Judith O’Connell Hoyer’s 2017 chapbook Bits and Pieces Set Aside was nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award by the publisher of Finishing Line Press.
Her book Imagine That is forthcoming from Future Cycle Press in March 2023.
Judith’s poems can be found in publications that include CALYX, Cider Press Review, Southwest Review, The Moth Magazine (Irish), The New York Times Metropolitan Diary, and The Worcester Review among others. She splits her time between Massachusetts and Rhode Island, USA.
Inherited the house their father built
with a garage out back for the Buick.
Ghosts babbled rose dust in the garden.
Handsome Misses, hair crimped in post-war dos
and huge bosoms passed down by their mother.
They puffed pink cigarettes but never inhaled and
dabbed sweat with crocheted hankies stuffed in sleeves.
Breakfast was bowls of harlequin ice cream.
When I got engaged, Belle asked, Where’s he from?
Hear that Agnes? She had to go all the
way to St. Louis to find a husband.
During Advent, Grace made the magi cross
the Oriental, inching their way day by day
to the crèche camped on the hearth
where they stayed until January 6th.
Sitting at the Beach
as an egg splits open the morning orange
and drizzles across the bay.
The waves teeth grind
the carcasses of once-living things.
My ears fill with sea static – a radio dialing
for news of the world. Is anyone there?
The hiss inhabits my mind.
A sound more soothing than sense.
Each finishing fetch a mesmerizing murmur,
a sonic blue pulse that belongs here.
Hazy and haughty. I’ll take the memory
to the grave on my back.
The art of silent sitting is a rock at low tide
strung with purple-backed mussels.
There’s enough ocean for everyone,
like getting an invitation to a beach party
we can all walk to. Where we tote our own
IPA and carry in small bags Cheetos.
Nothing to share but ourselves.
It counts for something.
I devour every salty bite.
Lick the dust from my fingers.