The Social Virtues Series

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A Review of SUMMER SOLSTICE by Nina MacLaughlin

A Review of SUMMER SOLSTICE by Nina MacLaughlin

“What’s the start of summer for you, the signal that it’s here?” Nina MacLaughlin asks in her book-length essay Summer Solstice, published by Black Sparrow Press. And with that invitation the reader’s imagination is kindled, fueled by the flush of inquiries that follow: “Is it the last day of school? The lilacs or the day lilies? First sleep with the windows open?”

Green Mountains Review, based at Northern Vermont University, is an annual, award-winning literary magazine publishing poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, literary essays, interviews, and book reviews by both well-known writers and promising newcomers.

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Putting Food By

Putting Food By

The achingly red Roma tomatoes / fill the bleached porcelain sink / like the bulbous detritus of summer. / The remnants of seed and skin / collide and float broken and hollow.

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The Somnambulist

The Somnambulist

Past the coffee table, its treacherous / corners; around the hushed ottoman; / pause in front of the flickering flat screen / as if I’d stepped right out of it. My family gapes.

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Three Poems

Three Poems

A quiet to these fields we called our place, / could almost hear the springs refeeding ponds, / fracked and gone with the deer and fox and grouse / thanks to the drilling’s thunder in the ground.

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Changes

Changes

The river changed course / By three feet. / Thus the willow withers from thirst. / Thus the rock is set alone like an altar. / Thus the grassy hill browns.

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2013

2013

The summer of 2013 / Was seen through rose tinted sunglasses / We gathered at Christa’s house, / Solemnly toasting to “the last year”

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Dust

Dust

How many little lives in between my fingernails, how many layers / of sod, of seed? This cold grass is all corpse and it’s only six o’clock /
in the evening. At the group home, I’ll spoon green beans and strained peaches / into my grandfather’s mouth, push them back onto his plate when he shoves

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Flame

Flame

Seventh inning, score tied, and Shaw leans back in his favorite chair and begins another beer. I’ve already had my usual three and have turned down his offer of a fourth. Since I got here he hasn’t said a word about anything but the ballgame, one we’ve been looking forward to against our division rivals. He doesn’t look at me when he comments on the game and doesn’t seem to care if I reply.

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