Poetry Friday: “Twisted Like Dogwood”

During my early years of blogging on Xanga, I remember “Poetry Friday” being one of my favorite weekly traditions. Sometimes, people posted their own poetry. Occasionally, I would come across T.S. Eliot or Wallace Stevens or Sylvia Plath in my newsfeed. I have been thinking about keeping up with this tradition on my blog, because I find myself more immersed in poetry these past couple of years than ever before. I am even dedicating myself to a study involving William Blake, which is beyond frightening.

Today, I want to share a poem called “Twisted like Dogwood” by Rebecca Latour published in the Kenyon Review. Dogwoods have been blooming here lately, and I found myself thinking of Latour’s poem this past week while buying red wine at a nearby liquor shop in a blue dress. An unusual experience.


Twisted like Dogwood

by Rebecca Latour

Mornings he lies under the bridge
pretending the sky is black—
and when boys stand atop the bridge, making wishes,
eyes pinched closed,
flicking pennies into ripples of the river,
he dips his hand into the water to catch them—
and when a penny slides
through his fingers, slinking into sand,
there is no going after it.
Sometimes he sits on the bench
and begs under the dogwood twisting
through the concrete. And a boy sits next to him.
He asks, got what you wanted, didn’t you?
(even when there is nothing worth looking for)
and the boy says mister?
and he says well, as long as you got what you wanted.
And, together, the two of them watch
a woman, tall and beautiful, walk into
the liquor store on the corner, and walk out
with a bottle of red wine:
and her hair—black as sky, twisted like dogwood,
her eyes glistening like pennies.
And he says, you know that lady in there,
what’s her name, that little lady from the liquor store?

and the boy says it’s all on the other side
but the wind carries her off.
And he rolls back his head, the sun shining in his eyes,
as if it were the only answer
the world could give.


  1. LAMarcom · April 18, 2014

    “He asks, got what you wanted, didn’t you?”
    Egotistically, vainly, I must say.
    Yes. I got what I wanted.

  2. D. Eaton · April 18, 2014

    There are some things that shouldn’t be chased.

  3. Corvin · April 19, 2014

    So do you ever write your own poetry? I find myself liking this example.

    • Sarah Key · April 21, 2014

      Not very often. I have only written 2-3 poems in the last couple of years. I love reading poetry, but I find writing it to be a daunting task. I mostly try to stick with prose.

  4. jr cline · April 19, 2014

    Poetry Friday. I’d forgotten about that.

  5. Catholic Tap House · April 19, 2014

    Nice example! :-) And since it has the word “dog” in the title, it definitely fits with the theme of your blog! ;-)

  6. Lisbeth · April 19, 2014

    I miss poetry Friday and xanga so much.

    • Sarah Key · April 21, 2014

      Lisbeth! It’s nice to hear from you. Let me know if you are blogging anywhere currently.

  7. Corvin · April 24, 2014

    I’ve never been a big fan of poetry, but I took a semester-long course in poetry writing at HCC in hopes of making my image crafting abilities for fiction stronger. While it was mostly a study in aggravation, I have at least learned to appreciate the form more and to enjoy some pieces. You might get a kick out of “Black Sabbatical” by Brett Eugene Ralph.

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