To Dwell for a Time

Mary Hawley


A sliver of girl shines in the windowpane

waiting again to be ferried from me

to her father. When she was five she had

a gypsy dress, pink heels, black snarled wig

for these nights. Tonight she asks the meaning

of sojourned, a word that appears in the play

they are reading at school, Midsummer Night’s

Dream, in which all the loves are mismatched

by the juice of Love-in-Idleness. Her father’s

car is a red convertible, she sits beside him

like a young queen. Deep in the forest

the Fairy Queen pulls Bottom the Ass’s

head to her breast with kisses; two men fight

for Helena, whom neither loved before.

All Puck’s mess, but it comes right in the end,

as the comedies do. The Queen sleeps

in a bat wing. My girl has two beds, two

homes: one with a garden where after rain

the bramble roses lay heavy heads

on the lawn, like lovers too long in a forest;

the other with a lake that stretches away,

far too wide for crossing. Puck knew

the plant for its flower, once white,

now purple with love’s wound.



Mary Hawley has  been a part of Chicago’s poetry community for the past twenty years. Prior to that she spent eight years in Indiana, in college and then teaching high school.  Mary is the author of one book of poetry, Double Tongues (Tia Chucha Press, 1993) and co-translated a bilingual poetry anthology, Astillas de Luz/Shards of Light (Tia Chucha Press, 1998).  Her poems have appeared in journals such as Notre Dame Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Bloomsbury Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Hawaii Pacific Review and in several anthologies.