Straws and Shadows
Editors: Ricki Mandeville, Michael Miller
"These lapidary renderings by Irena Praitis, a garden of depths and delights, braid sensory pleasures and historical place — part remembered, part imagined — with meticulous detail. Her verses succeed in bringing us to a previously unexplored place, standing midway between memory and imagination, and remind in every line of the power of poetry to restore. As Proust says, the senses 'more frail yet more enduring, persist like souls … bearing without disclosing, on their almost impalpable droplet, the immense edifice of memory.'" — Jeffrey Levine
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Irena Praitis is a professor of literature and creative writing at California State University, Fullerton. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Vilnius, Lithuania and has published two previous collections of verse, Touch (Finishing Line Press) and Branches (D-N Publishing), and a book of biographical prose vignettes, One Woman's Life (Diversion Press). She also co-wrote Still Life (Calder Wood Press), a collection of translated works by Lithuanian poet Sonata Paliulyte.
We stayed together, some days eight of us
and some days ten. We shivered through the cold
walk in the woods. On days after storms, snow
piled higher than my head. And we feared wolves.
That’s why we stayed so close. One day we looked
behind and saw a wolf right on the path
we had walked, looking at us, mouth open,
watching. The oldest children shrieked and ran.
Then we all ran, as fast as we could. I
was the youngest, and I was the smallest.
I could not keep up. I would not look back.
I knew the wolf was there. I knew the wolf
would chase whatever ran and so I ran
and ran. I could not stop. I screamed and screamed
for them to wait for me. I would not let
my heavy legs stop running, my school sack
swinging across my back. I ran until
I saw the schoolhouse, the other children
rushing through the opened door, the teacher’s
face, his long, dark beard hanging down his chest,
his eyebrows high, surprised at our hurry.