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It is simple for her to steal
off into the night
and leave her sleeping family
to their snores on the straw-tossed floor.

She slips free of the links
that fasten her to life—
her mother, father, and Joseph,
all dwindle in her mind
like a haze of memory,
she can hardly see
them in the distance behind her.

There is only Nazareth,
the white washed dwellings
that crown the hilltop
tapering down the sides;
only the crickets
bawling their buzz to the moonlight
and the sound of two lovers—
concealed by winds whistle and lost
among olive branches.

His is the face of love,
shadowed in darkness,
eclipsing the bulbil-
moon as she looks up
to the gleam of his nimbus.

For three months his chiseled body
shrouds her own, and then her
swelling belly
forces her to stay home.

When Joseph rubs a warm hand over her
lumped mound, conjured stones strike her skin
and she recalls that angel.

©Shawn Nacona Stroud

*This poem was previously published in the Crecent Moon Journal

Jennifer

Jennifer

© Jennifer Stroud Wirth

By: Shawn Nacona Stroud

Mississippi Crow Magazine

Mississippi Crow Magazine

*Double click on the image to make it large enough to read the poems.

Mississippi Crow Magazine

Self 3

Shawn Nacona Stroud

© Shawn Nacona Stroud

Mississippi Crow Magazine

Mississippi Crow Magazine

*Double click on the image to enlarge it enough to read the poems.

Mississippi Crow Magazine

Shawn Nacona Stroud

Shawn Nacona Stroud

© Shawn Nacona Stroud

Mississippi Crow Magazine

Mississippi Crow Magazine

*Double click the picture to enlarge it enough to read the poems.
Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, NC

© Shawn Nacona Stroud

Each evening our shadows escape,
the sun lowers, and they steal
away under the cover of night.
I have seen mine
in those last moments, elongated,
trailing along behind me.
Then I turn around,
and he is gone. He unfastened
the Velcro that connects us
hands and feet, and slipped
off down the street.
I came upon them,
one midnight walk in South Beach.
Leaving the world of neon
and pastel hotels behind me –
I stepped off the bike path,
my feet sinking in white sand,
and saw them all congregated
with their own kind.
They pretended to be us
as they walked along the beach.
Two sat on the steps
of the lifeguard shack smoking,
and I saw shadows bobbing
like corks in the ocean.
I walked towards the waters edge,
and felt myself fading
as I slowly became one of them.

© Shawn Nacona Stroud

*This poem previously appeared in Mississippi Crow Magazine and Here and Now.

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*View from on South Beach at night.

Pigeons Forge, TN

Pigeon Forge, TN

© Shawn Nacona Stroud

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