Laura Ann Reed


From a living room window,
I stare at a mass of blackberry vines
that rise above the cedar fence and spread
like wildfire on the wooded lot behind my house.
I pruned them back, but they returned more determined
than before to cast their shadow over my yard—
like a cloud of smoke from this burning world.

Across the room
my husband scrolls through news
on his i-Pad screen. How can we get rid
of these vines
, I call. He looks up, shrugs.
You should see what they’re doing, I say.
He sighs, and comes to stand beside me.

I point to the prickly stems that push
through slats and gaps in the aging fence
while he gestures toward a shape
outside the pane. A dragonfly—
it must be more than four inches long— hovers
near the glass, then darts away and disappears
over the blackberry vines. Moments pass
while we wait in vain, hoping for another glimpse
of iridescent wings.

Laura Ann Reed received a dual BA in French/Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and subsequently completed Master’s Degree Programs in the Performing Arts, and Psychology. She was a dancer in the San Francisco Bay Area prior to assuming the role of Leadership Development Trainer at the San Francisco headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She and her husband now reside in western Washington. Her work has been anthologized in How To Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope, and has appeared in Loch Raven, MacQueen’s Quinterly, The Ekphrastic Review, and Willawaw, among other journals.