Andrea Potos

is the mother of a daughter, a book addict and a longtime bookseller at A Room of One's Own Bookstore. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including Poetry East, Southern Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Nimrod, Paterson Literary Review, Poem, Phoebe, Sou'wester, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, The Sun, CALYX Journal, Claiming the Spirit Within (Beacon Press), Mothers & Daughters (Harmony Books), and A Fierce Brightness: 25 Years of Women's Poetry (Calyx Books). Andrea is the author of four poetry collections, most recently We Lit the Lamps Ourselves (Salmon Poetry, 2012). Her book Yaya's Cloth (Iris Press, 2007) won an Outstanding Achievement Award in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association. She is also the recipient of the James Hearst Poetry Prize from the North American Review.


Eleven years old and sunk in the red velveteen
chair at the Fox Bay Theater, I absorbed
the raw sculpture of Penistone Crag,
bracken and gorse, the peat
blanketing the Yorkshire moors. Heathcliff
with his sea-green eyes, black cape swirled
around him, how tall and alarmingly
handsome he looked.
At Catherine’s grave he cried, you wrote:
I cannot live without my life,
desire held hostage in his eyes,

my heart held stunned in my chest.
Years later, I return to your words;
travel to the stone-
flagged floors of your home;
your desk-box saved under glass,
its lining worn, purple velvet
splotched with red sealing wax.
Walking the rocky footpath towards swells
of purple heather, I remember the words
of the local stationer who saw you
returning one evening: her countenance was lit up
by a divine light.
I imagine
I hear your skin
brush mine, whisper what you know:
the silence, the stars
that burn through the page.
Hone the hours to their core—you might have said—
wind and poem, passion and moor.

from We Lit the Lamps Ourselves (Salmon


I wanted the silence of yarn,
the hook, shining

movement of gold, in
and out, the skeins unravelling

at my touch.
I would be Penelope, undoing

her work each night, so as never
to reach the end of

this wool under my hands,
sprawled on my lap

and becoming
goldenrod, aster,

marigold, the plot of flowers
behind my grandmother’s grave,

the sun that floods childhood
and all Septembers,

the maple leaves falling
where my grandmother lies.

from Yaya's Cloth (Iris Press)

     with thanks to William Stafford

I live and write inside
this motherskin.

On good days, words beach up
like starfish splaying new arms;
my child laughs beside me.

Amber speckles her wide brown eyes--
a mural of lost mammals
whose leaps I can believe in.

Appeared on the e-zine Blue Fifth Review.