Pity the poet who writes of salt ponds and claw marks on beech trees without the requisite natural-world familiarity. Better: pity her reader. There is no doubt that Dede Cummings’s hiking boots have suffered the ravages of Vermont blizzards and the indignities of losing their way in muddy New England woodstocks. Her technically beautiful, dreamy poems span many years of memory and favor the cavorting of family life. The founder of Green Writers Press and a book designer, Cummings attended Middlebury College and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
I arise early morning in Vermont
Start the fire
And get the kitchen ready.
I wrap my scarf around my head
And gently around my neck.
I feel contained.
A warmth around me, halo-like, and soothing.
My mind wanders, as I clean mechanically,
Around the world
Wearing their own headscarves.
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