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Pick of the Week

Laura Orem: Pick of the Week [ed. Terence Winch]

Laura Orem 2



























Remember, remember that boy

who could not love you

because you were not pretty,

whose terrible honesty you’ve carried

for thirty years, the truth you mined from him

like some strange gemstone made of your

own desperation that you still wear

around your neck.


And now this boy, your boy, who carefully wields

the electric razor until, stroke by stroke,

your head is shaven, austere as a nun’s,

beauty or lack of it as irrelevant as it is to God. This is

about power. This is about mess. This is what you do

to claim some purchase on this absurd slide

down a hill of talus looking for meaning

or Jesus or some way to make sense.

The boy reminds you as he shifts

to a disposable razor and, surgically careful,

scrapes away the tiniest stubble, black and gray

as a prophet’s beard. Your choice, he says. My choice,

like forcing truth from another boy thirty years ago.

See, says my son. Look. It’s not so bad.

You can stand it. You already have.

Stand it some more.


Laura Orem is a writer, artist, and educator. Currently a board member of the Baltimore Wisdom Project, a multi-faceted education program for inner city youth, she taught writing for many years at Goucher College. She is the author of two books of poetry, Castrata and Resurrection Biology.  She lives in Palm Coast, Florida.

This transformed image of the iconic Mona Lisa is at the heart of an awareness campaign launched by Fondazione ANT Italia (National Cancer Association Foundation Italy)  a nonprofit organization t

This transformed image of the iconic Mona Lisa from a 2013 poster is the “perfect emblem of the upheaval that cancer brings with it, the enormity of its impact on the life of a person and of the inestimable stakes,” says the National Cancer Association Foundation of Italy, a nonprofit organization that provides free palliative care and pain management services to cancer patients throughout Italy.  



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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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