Photo by Jill Dimond on Unsplash

I often walk here just to clear my mind.
Who knows what secrets or sweet words I’ll find?
I often walk when I’m all alone
with these old gravestones and their old gray bones.

These grassy rows, I know them very well.
I walk them blind and even know their smell.
In this valley deep, the sun’s never shone
on these old gravestones with their old gray bones.

Judy Wise died in 1884,
lost all three babies in the Civil War.
She joined them here so not to be alone
with their old gravestones and their old gray bones.


The cellar has a fisherman, or so the neighbors say.
He’s only here four weeks a year; he never comes to stay.
They send his letters to the house, addressed to unit D,
that sit in bundles on the stoop when he goes out to sea.

His face is creased and leathered like a worn-out pair of shoes.
He drinks away the endless days as he awaits the news
that Cap’n’s heading out again and gathering his crew.
For now, he pours another pint and drowns himself in brew.

The job is in his blood, the only life he’s ever…

A man once proved a prince to be,
but not through blood of royalty.
He was a noble man, you see;
he was to me, he was to me.

And he upon my cheek did leave
the sweetest kiss, I do believe,
that any maid did ere receive
one winter’s eve, one winter’s eve.

He was a poor blacksmith, it’s true;
of fancy bobbles he had few.
But from our tender heartbeats grew
just one from two, just one from two.

And I upon my finger wore
a sturdy ring of iron ore
that he with steady hands had poured.
To him I…

The bathroom light fixture casts a harsh orange glow on the salmon-pink floor tiles. A faint knocking at the door is muffled by the gush of hot water in the sink. I open it expecting to find my nosy little sister, but standing there, outlined in a curl of steam, is my father.

He asks in a kind, inquisitive way if I need help.

“I’m fine,” I say, angling my body to conceal what I’m doing, but he’s six feet tall and peers effortlessly over my right shoulder.

“No big deal,” he says, rolling up the sleeves of his flannel…

In high school I struggled with eating disorders, severe anxiety, and toxic relationships. I worried about how I would pay for college and who would care for my sister after I left. But those dark years were also punctuated by moments of joy: Meeting someone who became one of my best friends. Getting my first job. Performing well on the SAT. And, most of all, singing soprano in the school choir.

When I took my position and opened my sheet-music folder, my troubles dissolved. At a time when I had no one to talk to, singing was my therapy. The…

Laura Plummer

I’m an American freelance journalist and writer. Originally from Massachusetts, I currently live north of Boston in Gloucester.

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