A friend leaves a dozen eggs and a stick on our back porch. She instructs my daughter to put that stick in water.

Doubtfully, my daughter sets the unassuming brown branch in a glass of water on our kitchen table. Really? she asks me.

I tell her it’s a twig from a Daphne bush she’s walked by countless times. When it blooms in that water, you’ll be amazed. I promise her this.

Here’s Adrienne Rich’s poetry for the soul, forwarded from my father.

I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.



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.


  1. The painfully sharp “when you fall out of the canoe and water in your face” last line of your poem in these covid times reminds me of Ambrose Bierce’s definition of “patience” in The Devil’s Dictionary: “A minor form of despair disguised as a virtue.”
    Thanks for the entries in these times. GT

    1. Well, that’s an amazing definition of patience. I’m (somewhat) heartened to hear despair can appear as a minor form. We’re two weeks into quarantine here — and I’m guessing only spring might revive my depleted reserves. Hope you’re all holding up.

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