Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 8 • Winter 2003 • Poetry

The Sign

Ron Mohring

Four girls dawdle up the library stairs,
led by three adults: two women, one man.
The children murmur and coo, round-eyed, sublingual,
pointing out collages, watercolors, papier
mâché masks -- an exhibit of grade-school art.
Chubby and twice the size of the others, one girl
gapes at a magazine cover: a boy actor
from a TV series. Exaggerating
her nod and smile, the woman beside her raps
an invisible door: Yes. Language spins
soundless from their hands. The group drifts
around a corner. A girl in pink holds back,
staring at a paper lion's gold foil
curlicue mane. The man returns to fetch her,
tosses me a sly wink. Here at the New
Albany Public Library, I am a spy
in love. I knew they'd make this trip today.
I've never had the chance to watch this man
at work. Despite my love of words, I've never
learned this alphabet of hands, can't make
the sign to signal pride across a room.

Ron Mohring has had work published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Artful Dodge, Maize, Pool, and Southeast Review. His poetry chapbooks are Amateur Grief, The David Museum, and Beneficence; his full-length collection, Survivable World, won the 2003 Washington Prize and is expected to appear in 2004 from The Word Works Press. The recipient of the 2003 Oscar Wilde Award from Gival Press, he teaches literature and creative writing at Bucknell University, where he is Senior Associate Editor of West Branch. He can be reached at rmohring@ptd.net.

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