Charlotte Matthews

Two Moments with Strangers

The day I walk all ten miles

of the Ridge Road,

I stop to ask for water from a man

whose tended garden blooms

against the chipped metal of his trailer

where his wife shifts about in the heat

praying that a storm will rise

over the near mountains.

The water is sweet and I thank him.

Red poplin curtains wave back

and forth in a fan’s path.

Soon, the man promises, soon

your baby will be born

and it will be a girl

as you have wished so hard for.





The woman in the waiting room

reading Newsweek speaks to me

as I make my appointment.

She says Emma is beautiful

and there is something in her voice I recognize.

When I turn to took at her she is wearing

an onyx necklace like my mother’s and a wool

blazer and her eyes are small

and bright and she smells of winter

like my mother and I know that

she has come for this one moment.



“Two Moments with Strangers” first appeared in Potomac Review.