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Page 55

North Carolina Expatriate Writers

N C L R ONLINE

55

FINALIST, 2019 JAMES APPLEWHITE POETRY PRIZE BY MARLY YOUMANS

The Woman in the Walls

COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

One summer’s day the children spied The dry-stone mason at his work And begged to stop, to sit in grass, To ask and ask, as children must. How does a brook make pebbles run? Do those gray stones come from the moon? Why is a boulder? How can stone Be rough or glassy, flow like streams? And once the mason gave a rock – Embedded there, a trilobite – That made them stare and think of time, How big it was, and more than clocks. So she was pleased, oh, well enough, To lean in sun and leaf-shade, watch The mason puzzle over stones, To let her children ask and ask, Their hours gliding like a dream. Drowsy and warm, she never feared How high the walls were mounting, how Shadows thickened between the stems, Or how children, chasing pulses Of lightning bugs, blurred into night. Yet now she stands alone, straining To hear beyond the insect noise, Fearing the wind that shivers leaves. How am I to get out, she wonders, The walls so dark and steep, the stones Locked together skillfully

The Efforts of Preserving Oneself: Dancing with Blades 2017 (printed silk organza, stitched with metal and filled with razor bladed, rusted afterward, 43”x 63”) by Jan-Ru Wan

MARLY YOUMANS is the author of thirteen books of poetry and fiction, most recently, a collection of poetry, The Book of the Red King (Phoenicia Publishing of Montreal, 2019). The author was born in South Carolina, grew up in North Carolina, among other places, and now lives in Cooperstown, NY. She is a frequent NCLR contributor, with both her own poetry and writing reviews of others’ books, and she was the subject of an interview in NCLR 2004. Read more about her in the interview that follows, featuring several North Carolina expatriate writers.

JAN-RU WAN is Emeritus Professor at NCSU in Raleigh and Visiting Professor at Wuhan Textile University in Wuhan, China. Her award-winning art has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, both national and international. In 2006, she was recognized by the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, with the Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award. She was the recipient of a 2008 North Carolina Visual Artist Fellowship and has been awarded artist residencies in Morocco, Belgium, and the Netherlands. See more of her work on her website.

Profile for East Carolina University

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2020  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2020  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

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