NO. 4 DOWN: WHAT ROSEMARY IS FOR by Lisa Ludden

101 North is packed. You sit in the passenger seat, impatient for the turn to fields and farmland. Herbed goat cheese, lemon and lavender cookies, thyme loaves of bread. You return to your house overlooking the water. Safe. Resume the daily pitter-patter as you move from room to room, fussing here, fussing there, stopping to look at pictures on the wall. The stretch of Provence’s lavender fields, Lake Como’s glassy surface, the moss and stone of Northern England, only to not know your own face peering back at you. For a moment. Now the Louis Vuitton is packed away. If you stay here, perched over the water’s edge, would you say I have seen enough? Will the past carry you on champagne bubbles to conversations over luxurious dinners across the globe? What was compromise has shifted into slight resentment, the Valium popped preflight, the nerves in navigating locations. New homes. And you agree and disagree, because that is how your relationship has aged, the prose so delicious at times you can’t bear it to end. Now you sit upstairs in your reading loft with the ever-present unknown. So much has been experienced, what is left but an ending? So, you pick up the crossword and begin again.


Lisa Ludden is the author of the chapbook Palebound (Flutter Press, 2017). Her poem, “How is Home,” was a finalist for the Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize 2018. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 580 Split, Permafrost, Stonecoast Review, Natural Bridge, MockingHeart Review, and elsewhere. She is currently at work on her first full-length book of poetry.


Photo by Jacob Li