Joyce Peseroff

Memorial Bench
November 10, 2014 Peseroff Joyce

Memorial Bench


Suzanne and Half Zantop loved sitting here—

sails warbling out like quarter notes in a fiddle contest


of sea and sky, the mew of two mated ospreys plunging

after gulls hatched on the island’s keening rookery—


before two Vermont boys, one crazy one not,

sawed their neck and chest like a deer carcass, winter 2001, their living


room, bedroom, kitchen bloodied with hacking knives, and we took

the cabin—Birch—they’d reserved for the summer.


The killers wanted money to be cowboys in Australia, said troopers

who cuffed them. Worse would happen that year.


Past the bench a guest rigs his hammock in the cool underside

of the dock. He climbs the struts and curls like a sailor


unborn in its red mesh. All month daylilies open like mouths

of baby birds, ready to swallow their one day. One day!

Joyce Peseroff’s fifth book of poems, Know Thyself, was designated a “must-read” by the 2016 Massachusetts Book Award. Her recent poems appear in Agni Online, Consequence, and the Woven Tale Press. She currently blogs on writing and literature at