Celia Meade




My hair whitened
as a child, in the sun,
running through the sprinkler
with our family dog,

and I watched you, sister,
go through several hairstyles
before you settled
on your close-cropped pixie.

Now that your daughter has married
and all the pictures have been taken,
you will let your hair
grow white

before chemotherapy
changes you again.
No one
can stay the same,

and yet somehow, I believe
we will always be here,
kids playing in water,
dogs rolling in grass.

I know it won’t last;
at some level, I know,
but go build your castle;
I’ll lie oceanside,

keep adding towers
until the dogs run right over it,
until the tide comes rushing
and the bucket floats away.




Karl goes out on the dock,
searches the rippling ribbons,
which form false images

just below the surface.
Her love of water, her liquid grave,
but she bounds in from the fields, panting.

Our daughters were small when we moved here;
many nights I imagined them
caught in the seaweed,

stone blue, their hair twining the fronds.
Instead, they combed the rocky shore,
climbed around the spit to the beach,

to the beach, jumped in the ocean
to jump out again, run in the fields
alive with owls, blackberries,

to know nettle’s taste, and how it stings.
We took the risk, and this is our island
of water lapping on gravel.

Others have met tragedy
slipping off boats, or lost to the woods,
to the owls and blackberries, forever.

We float in the midst of those terrible islands,
shrink back from the sting
of sink or swim.


Celia Meade graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in spring of 2023 for an MFA in creative writing, after studying under Marie Howe, Jo Ann Beard, and Afaa Michael Weaver. She was awarded second place in the 2022 Raven Chapbook competition for the poetry collection The Ones You Love. Her first collection of poetry, Anatomy of the World, was published by Wipf and Stock in February 2024. Celia enjoys oil painting, traveling, and dogs.