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Intended Place

Poetry, Wick First Book


Winner of the 1996 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize

“Many of the poems in Rosemary Willey’s Intended Place are flawless meditations on possibility and denial. The voice in these poems is straightforward, and there isn’t an emotional placebo behind the terse syntax and the believable imagery.

“From the very first few pages, we realize that this voice embodies empathy and a to-the-point inquiry. Rosemary Willey cannot keep her mind off the real things of this world, touching life where it feels good and where it pains, always snapping the chanced wishbone, and we are more blessed and richer for her daring talent.”—Yusef Komunyakaa, Judge

The House We Pass Through

It is just a family. I am just a girl
posing at the mirror in a flowered
cotton shift, combing back my short hair,
deciding whether I’m beautiful. I know
the creak in the floor by heart and the hiss
of the door behind me, drawing itself shut.
When I cross the room, my brothers and sisters
don’t care, their faces turn to the tv set.
From under the basement stairwell I see
my mother lifting laundry from the dryer,
my oldest brother behind her, white as a sheet.
The slosh, slosh of the washer muffles my mother’s
words. Buck up, Buck up, I hear her warning.
The next of us is about to be born.



Rosemary Willey received her M.F.A. in creative writing at Vermont College. Her poems have been published in Poetry, Crazyhorse, Ploughshares, Indiana Review, and other journals.