Featured Writer Claudia Serea

Drinking moonshine in the middle of nowhere

Boreas by John William Waterhouse

Again, we ask who else died
since last year.
Again, the abandoned land,
the hollow houses,

the wild hemp,
the vineyards overcome with morning glories,
weeds choking everything.

Again, the beer, the moonshine, the wine,
the envy, the bitterness, the stealing,
the useless politicians,
the no-good neighbors,
the drunkard brother-in-law.

Again, the feeling there’s nothing to do
to save this place,
these people,
from themselves.

Not even God,
no one can do it.

Again, no escape.

I leave my glass on the table
to the flies and wasps,
step away from the shouting match,

and go out to look at
the empty, open road.


And then, the wind came.
It was the wind that first took one leaf,
then three,
then all,

the wind that brought citadels of clouds,
the swine plague from the Danube,
the aviary flu,

the wind that brought death,
the wind that took all.

Years later, the wind moves
on the long lace curtains,
dark leaves, light leaves,
gray days, white days,
years, decades, lives.

Where did they go?

Here we are, still together,
the same, but different.

The kids are all grown up.

And we still yell at each other
after a few bottles,

about money, marriage, decisions,
everything we did wrong.

I step away and look for the stars
in the windy night.

I can’t see any.

Only the moon drinks its own moonshine,
gleaming on gray hairs.


About the writer:
Claudia Serea’s poems have appeared in Field, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She has published five poetry collections, most recently TwoXism, a collaboration with photographer Maria Haro (8th House Publishing, 2018). Serea co-hosts The Williams Readings in Rutherford, NJ, and she is a founding editor of National Translation Month.

Image: Boreas by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917). Oil on canvas. 68.8 x 94 cm. 1903. Public domain.