» Poetry


The neighborhood used to be a beach.

The streets run with clipped grass and trash


and potting soil when it rains—

a network of temporary rivers.


The landfill passes for real land most of the time

but fat Floridian storms bring up the truth


about the sea level and a neighborhood built

for families growing faster than the city.


The trees were planted to hold the ground.

The coastal forms are highly tolerant of salt.


The place is big and cold, with stiff rooms

for a quiet mother and two sisters living


in too much house, the space that’s left

from a bigger family. The father is dead.


The rain pulls ferns in through the cracks

in the white stucco. The kitchen blooms


while exhausted pool floats fill with water

and then with tadpoles. The hammock grows


green mold in the crosses of its ropes

and leaves wet diamonds on their backs.


The dog is tied to the stove.

The heat steams the jalousie slats.


The doors swell too big for their frames

but the girls never try to leave anyway.


Mary Block

Mary Block's poems have been featured in the anthology portion of Serious Daring (Oxford University Press), as well as in the journals RHINO, Sonora Review, Rattle, Conduit, and others. She is a graduate of NYU's Creative Writing Program, a 2012 finalist for the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives in her hometown of Miami, Florida, with her husband, her two children, and her dachshund, Theodore Roosevelt.