Two Poems by Judith Harris

Magnolia in the Backyard

Lately, I have come to regard
its blossoms
white as bone china saucers,
its star shaped petals
arrayed on the upper shelves,

and when it sways, I can hear
the hardness of its breath
as its broad leaves clap, stiff
and polished with a shiny wax,
so that if I hold one up

that has already fallen, I can almost
make out my own reflection—
my whole life story somehow
written there.


Early Snowfall Just After Dark

Snow covers the fields
with a white field of its own,
whiter and more flawless
than crystals of salt,

or a slow-moving river of ice,

the leafy fir trees, now
wrapped inside
white shawls fringed with frost,

snow dusting the feathers of
a spotted thrush, and filling the air
with stacks and stacks
of forgotten moonlight.


Judith Harris is the author of The Bad Secret and Atonement (LSU Press) Night Garden (Tiger Bark Press), and Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing the Self through Writing (SUNY Press). Her poems have been published in The Nation, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Hudson Review, Southern Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, the syndicated newspaper column, American Life in Poetry, and Poetry Daily and Poem of the Day from The Poetry Foundation and on NPR. She is currently at work on a new book of literary criticism, The Poetry of Loss: Romantic and Contemporary Elegies (Routledge Press) to be published next year.

Leave a Reply