Back to Issue Four.

In Another Life

BY RUTH FOLEY

 

You have been alive for the past 
thirty years. You prefer the ocean 
to the mountains. You have let your hair 
grow long again, and tie it back when 

the babies come to visit. You had more 
children, and they had children. In 
the winter, they come to your house to sled 
on the hill that leads out of your woods. 

You go with them, cradling the youngest 
against your chest. When the roads ice 
over, you do not drive. You are a social worker 
or a psychologist. You prefer too much 

rain to too little. You have thought 
about letting yourself go gray. The chemicals, 
you say. They're going to kill us all 
if we're not careful. You have a cat. 

You have plants. When the roads ice over, 
you do not drive. You have friends come 
for dinner on Thursday nights, and in the summer 
you string fairy lights across your back deck. 

You wear ankle-length skirts and keep 
your glasses on a beaded chain around 
your neck. You have long since given up 
your Firebird for a Subaru or a Volvo. 

You have a second husband, one better than 
you think you deserve. He splits wood 
in the autumn. He is broad and tall and smiles 
when you call him a lumberjack. He likes 

to cook. You gave up smoking. You play 
music too loud and drink white wine out of 
the biggest glass you can find and you can't 
remember the last time you shattered a plate 

against the floor because you've lived 
long enough to learn a few things. And—this is 
the important part, so listen well, sister— 
when the roads ice over, you do not drive. 

 

 

Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her recent work is appearing or forthcoming in Adanna, The Bellingham Review, Yemassee, and Weave, among others. Her poetry has been nominated for the Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and Pushcart anthologies. She also serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review