Volume 69, Number 1 · Fall 2019

The Night Traveler

Sometimes on long drives upstate,
the temperature falling as surely
as the snow in the valley, the barn
owl calling to the trees, and the low
hills sinking into whiteness, like
the bedtimes of my childhood,
smoothed under my mother’s hand,
gone now like my mother, deep in
the snow, I remember what it was
like to walk the streets of Stockholm
as a girl, lost and tired, how the cold
cuffed my sides, crackled my lungs,
how I stumbled to the first warm door
I could find—a museum of antiquities.
And I wandered the slim halls
with their arrays of plundered goods—
things stolen from desert countries,
things longing for the heat,
veils, golden cups, rubied glasses—
until I came across a blue knit
handkerchief, made by another
mother, and stared and stared.
It glowed like a thing in ice.
And so I always think of it, in this
blue hour: It is the blue of country
lakes, of clear skies, the blue
of living things, caught in the cold.
It is the blue of the soul, if I
believed in it. It says that snow
remembers it was once water,
that what’s lost can live under glass
for a thousand years. It says that you
are here, my mother, in these fields,
that I am driving through you
always, that even the snow
is deep in the blue of your life.

Felicity Sheehy’s poems appear in the New Republic, the Yale Review, the Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She has received an Academy of American Poets Prize, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Jane Martin Poetry Prize for UK residents under thirty. In 2019, she was named one of Narrative’s 30 Under 30 Writers. Originally from Hudson Valley, New York, she is a PhD candidate at Cambridge University.