by Laura Cherry

It’s a renegade blessing,
a luckless charm, an impossible command,
a petition with one signature,

a spangled net of wishes thrown
over the precious other, an unwitting revelation:
your well-being is needed for my own.

The creek rises and the brown water bubbles.
The wildfire leaps the road to approach the houses.
Someone is shooting in the mall

or dragging women from the jogging path.
The crowd is drunk and growing angry.
From the uncertain sky, anything might fall.

Because I too am walking with disaster,
I urge my best benediction on you:
Be safe, my daughter. Be safe, friend, lover,

stranger whom I wish no harm to visit.
Be safe, fellow human, unkempt as we are.
Be safe in this world that has always

been dangerous, but which seems unbearably so
in this moment, as we part for now or ever,
as you leave me here and take your chances.


Laura Cherry is the author of the collection Haunts (Cooper Dillon Books) and the chapbooks Two White Beds (Minerva Rising) and What We Planted (Providence Athenaeum). She co-edited the anthology Poem, Revised (Marion Street Press). Her work has been published in journals including Antiphon, Ekphrastic Review, Los Angeles Review, Cider Press Review, Tuesday; An Art Project, and Hartskill Review. She lives with her family near Boston, where she works as a technical writer.