Stamps: Kirsten Andersen



Rhode Island

By Kirsten Andersen

I’d forgotten the black lawns

the long winters with no snow

the buckled concrete

along the roads this far removed

from the marina, running along

the land between the prison

and the mall, where my walk home

from the middle school was straight

across the avenue, exposed

to the cries of the high school boys

who were speeding in their cars.

I kept my short bangs curled

and lifted like a cloud, wore a choral jacket

dragged a book pack, and spun to face the girls

who broke a sandbag on my back.

The city pool was an empty bowl

of old cannon balls and belly flops

facing the lot where I went to meet

my father on his break, leaning

against his car door and looking at his watch.

The parking lot was full of men

at four o’clock, the backdrop

made of metal parts, pieced into submarines

for purchase by the navy. I saw my father

take a sip from a paper cup of coffee

lift my house key in the air, watch me smile.


Kirsten Andersen lives in Brooklyn. She was raised in Rhode Island.



“Rhode Island” is part of the Stamps project. Click here to learn more >>
The poem was first published in the Notre Dame Review (Summer/Fall 2008).


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