The White Bench by Terri Kirby Erickson

The White Bench

In memory of my mother and father

High on a hill above our house, sits
a white, wrought iron bench that belonged
to my parents for years. It looks randomly placed,
as if it were lifted from their yard by a tornado,
and dropped where it is now, in mine.
But I can see it from our screened-in porch
and through all the back windows—the arched
backrest with its white roses and curled
leaves that almost look like lace, how it glows
and glistens when the sun begins to rise
above the red oaks and poplars. When resting
on its cool seat after climbing the steep hill,
I can see the whole neighborhood, as if I were a bird
on a branch. And the breeze seems to find me
there, on my parents’ bench, more than
anywhere else in the yard—memories, too,
as well as scenes I can imagine—like my mother
spotting it in the store, how her face settled
into longing, how my father, who loved
her so, said let’s take it home, and they did.


Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of six collections of poetry, including A Sun Inside My Chest (Press 53, Fall, 2020). Her work has appeared in “American Life in Poetry,” Asheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, JAMA, Poet’s Market, The Christian Century, The Sun, The Writer’s Almanac, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily, and many others. Her awards include the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, Nazim Hikmet Award, and a Nautilus Silver Book Award. She lives in North Carolina.

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