by Maureen McQuerry

A lopsided smile dangles
in the branches, a rind of cheese,
white and glowing as a slice of moon.

You learned the secret
we all wait for, transparency:
bones and sinew, tail and whiskers

vanishing into light. One small remainder
a roguish tilt among the summer leaves,
talisman for the things we love

and never leave, air that ripens
into summer, blossoming with heat,
hibiscus red, ruffled with birdsong,

the long call of oceans, even
the clean precision of numbers
that sometimes turn messy

when telling the truth. I tell you this,
not all solutions are elegant,
the whole and its parts

divide, remnants needed to complete
the story, like your smile
fixed in the branches of my heart.

Maureen McQuerry is a teaching artist for Washington State and a gifted education specialist. She lives near the banks of the Columbia River with her family and big dog, Bear. She is the author of Wolfproof, (Idylls Press 2006) the first of a YA fantasy trilogy, its sequel The Travelers' Market debuting in July, two non-fiction books, and a poetry collection,Relentless Light, (Finishing line 2007). Her chapbook, Wingward, won the New Eden Chapbook Competition. Recent poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Georgetown Review, The Southern Review, Relief Journal, Smartish Pace and Goblin Fruit. You can find out more at .

When asked what poem the word "cherry" immediately made her think of, Maureen replied: "Because cherries remind me of summer, (we had a cherry tree when I was small where I climbed and grazed to my heart's content), I'd have to say Mary Oliver's 'The Summer Day.' The last line is one I ask students all the time... 'Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?'"

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