Dede’s Book

A day of cold rain, when I think of Janisse Ray’s line: Some days, all day, rain falls.  Driving home, I take a detour and follow the river, swollen threateningly along its banks, grabbing at trees still barren with winter.

All through graduate school in Bellingham, Washington, I wrote of flooding rivers, clogged septic tanks, the persistence of moisture.

In Montpelier this afternoon, the lights are already glowing on, and it’s poetry month. Poetry: not of sterilized honey, but nourishing, sweet and yet filled with the debris of dead bees.

At Bear Pond Books, I buy Dede Cummings’ beautiful new book of poetry. Oh Dede. On this April day fattening itself with water, wisely using the sodden gloom, readying for the splendor of blooms, I stand in the aisle, devouring her words. A friend of mine, reading a new book of Mary Oliver’s, said she always found poems she knew were written just for her. Then she said, But maybe many others think that way, too.


I am not the cause of your misery
I am peepers in springtime in the dark pond
I am footsteps and shadow approaching on the dark road
I watch for salamanders but none of them are crossing on this dry night.

I measure my steps, and I count my dreams:
I am driven home by drizzle, by children.

A small vase of crocus blossoms
you left on the cutting board this morning
reminds me of what we once had.

– Dede Cummings, To Look Out From


By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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