Tag Archives: Sharon Chmielarz

Lilies of the Valley
by Sharon Chmielarz

A woman from money, from the romance of Baku
on the Caspian Sea, worked in a shoe factory
In Minnesota for a buck thirty-five an hour,
her residence, the town’s cheapest rooms.
Each spring she gave me lilies of the valley.
Then, as if the past crept up on her,
and her body was aghast at her history,
she died of a stroke.

Not only equal,
there’s something bridal about the way
a woman holds a bouquet close
to her breasts or pins a sprig of lilies
to her collar on the last day of school
when lily fragrance, lily appearance
lightens every dingy street in Russia,
every flower seller’s hands. Ostera,
goddess of spring, has broken out of snow.


Here’s a hand, blue-veined. It lies at rest
as it’s been taught: to steady a tablet while
the other writes. Here is a leaf, green-veined,
feeding the roots as it fades. Unstoppable
cycles. The one-armed soldier limps home,
the house, bombed, yet a certain perfume
sweetens the ruins. No wonder there’s winter.
There has to be a pause—easy there.
That’s moonlight you’re walking on,
a longer white, the white of wish.


On the north side of our third house,
the Baku woman’s son and mine,
the soil was poor; grass grew spotty
at best. I wish the lilies of the valley
I’d planted luck. I wanted to open a window
and catch a whiff of their blooming. Be
In awe.—They grew. In not too many years
a green-leaved parade bordered the foundation.
The north side was a lonely spot like those
in dreams, a neglected place seemingly,
That suddenly sprouts a little garden.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 2.

Sharon Chmielarz’s latest books of poetry are Calling, a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, 2011, and The Sky Is Great the Sky Is Blue. She’s the recipient of the 2012 Jane Kenyon Award from Water~Stone Review.

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CPR Volume 13 off to the Printer

Cider Press Review, Volume 13A little late (but no later than last year), CPR Volume 13 is now on its way to the printer!

Volume 13 features new work from, Anne Babson, Vicki Bee, Kate Bernadette Benedict, Alyse Bensel, Laura Bontrager, Nancy Naomi Carlson, Marilyn Cavicchia, Elizabeth Chapman, René Char, Sharon Chmielarz, Christina Cook, Niamh Corcoran, Brittney Corrigan, J. P. Dancing Bear, Aran Donovan, Juditha Dowd, Renée Emerson, David Filer, Derek Furr, Alan Gann, Taylor Graham, Cindy W. Gutierrez, Jennifer Habel, John Hart, Chris Haven, Lauren Hilger, Carol Hobbs, Louisa Howerow, Donna Hunt, Danielle Jones-Pruett, Peycho Kanev, Ray Keifetz, Katie Kingston, Ellen Kombiyil, Susanna Lang, Nylah Lyman, Joan Mazza, Bernadette McBride, Cory McClellan, Sandy McCord, Gerardo Mena, Mary Elizabeth Parker, Thomas A. Pepperz, David Petruzelli, Tasha Pippin, Lynne Potts, Katharine Rauk, Claudia Serea, Eric Paul Shaffer, Myra Shapiro, James Siegel, Karen Skolfield, Michael G. Smith, Heather Sommer, Robert Spiegel, Alison Stone, Catherine Strisik, Jonathan Jay Taylor, Kelly Terwilliger, Gail Thomas, Dwayne Thorpe, Christine Tierney, Ryan Vine, Donna Vorreyer, Mark Wagenaar, Kathleen Weaver, Peter Weltner, Luke Whisnant, and Kelley Jean White.

Copies of Volume 13 will be available in both print and ebook formats by the end of June, 2012.