Mary Rowlandson’s Removes

“When others are sleeping, mine eyes are weeping.”

In the beginning she was called often  

to relate scenes of blood and flame

from the Tenth of February,

with the goodwives crying to hear her tell

of her dead child turned under barren dirt

and left alone on a hill as she was led away—

and how she marked with scripture each remove:

the camp of snow and fever, the swamp of sinking,

the ground where Praying Tom dangled white fingers,

the begging from fire to fire for any niche against

the frozen black void she read as inscrutable love,

for her mind, forged on Calvin, would not bend


though sometimes, in the starved light before day

she would hear the child pleading for water,

pleading from just over the ridge,

and she would cry out, her wits unlashed

as stars withdrew their nets,

but her legs failed her, snared by sleep.

(What mercy, she would later say,

to quell her madcap flight and fiery fate.)


This telling of her inmost trial she came to fix in print,

could hardly believe it was she herself there in the tent

slabbering over a horse’s foot snatched from a child

or swearing in the face of pagan taunts–how is it

she secretly craves that state even now as others sleep,

a manic flame to burn the ordered words,

the syntax that gives shape to every scream..

April reading at Virginia Wesleyan College to usher in National Poetry Month

I’ll be reading from Hungry Foxes as well as a selection of new poems and would love to see you there. The reading is at VWC in Norfolk from 11:00-11:50 a.m. in the Pierce Hospitality House in the Batten Center.

Guan Ju (the Seahawk’s Cry)









How to know His name

on a bleached day in the water fields

when I’m hungry from the long hike

and there’s nothing but the graveyard of snags

and rushes. I look for the sparrow coining notes

in the grass, for his mere eye as reward for my work

of trudging on in the haze, but he remains hidden,

like ospreys crying in some other sky, coupling

on a dead branch high above the marsh,

the lord then wheeling away,

his mate left shuddering in the cloud.

News Updates

Recent and upcoming publications:

  • “Strangled Roses: A Portrait” in current issue of the Edgar Allan  Poe Review
  • Essay in the Nearest Poem anthology, Sofia Starnes, editor
  • “Mary Rowlandson’s Removes,” Anglican Theological Review
  • “Kite Surfer,” Aethlon: Journal of Sport Literature
  • “The High, Hunted Trees,” Spiritus
  • Hungry Foxes, Aldrich Press (chapbook)
  • “Sunday Service at the Home for the Incurables” and “The Gardener” in Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poems, Luke Hankins, editor
  • “Advent” forthcoming in Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, Sarah Arthur, editor


  • Reading, “A Taste of Poetry,” October 2013, Shenandoah Art Council and Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Winchester, VA
  • Reading, Prince Books, Norfolk, VA, May 2013
  • Taught classes at the Muse Writer’s Center: “To See the World in a Grain of Sand” (nature poetry – fall 2013) and “Clarity through the Mask” (persona poems – winter 2014)
  • Reading and workshop (Poet-in-Residence series), Virginia Wesleyan College, April 1, 2014
  • Reading, St. Andrews Church, Columbia, NC (fall 2014)

A Taste of Poetry

Taste of Poetry Poster Oct 26 2013

I’ll be reading with poet Wendell Hawken (Spinal Sequence, Mother Tongue) at the Shenandoah Arts Council on October 26  in Winchester, Virginia. It’s the fourth annual Taste of Poetry reception and reading featuring delicious words and home-backed seasonal pies. The event starts at 7:00 p.m. and is sponsored by the Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, the Shenandoah Arts Council and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

Here’s a poem I’ll be reading, from Hungry Foxes:


What will he do now in bigger wind,

bigger than the dragon flame that zapped

his friend across the sands, collapsing the world

in the millionth war, burnt men shambling

in the orange flare—he steers his kite

across the sea doing hoochie glides, knowing

the lure of muscle, the taunt that corners blind forces,

the power of his control bar.  He’s lost sight of land,

lost guilt in his death slide, the wind lofting him

high above the giant, gray and grim and starved.

He rises like memory canceling itself, freeing itself

for the purity of height, his canopy its own small sky

to hoist him heavenward, away from his brain

that knows and keeps count of every costly flinch,

(his M-16 stalled when his fingers shook like girls)—

No heartbreak here. The wind is all for now.







© Copyright RhodesNotTaken - Designed by Pexeto