Sheltered in Place

by Erica Goss

I push the lens
of my camera
into a blur of petals,

the turbulence
of flower against glass
letting me know

that if I move one inch closer
color & shape will fade
into oblivion,

but here the just-opened
blossom still appears

filaments clustered
around the faintly
illuminated stigma,

and today, it’s enough
to be well, to be awake, to extend
my eye past its limits,

enough to persist,
each day another step
up a staircase whose

end stays out of sight
no matter how many times
I try to focus.

Erica Goss won the 2019 Zocalo Poetry Prize. Her collection, Night Court, won the 2017 Lyrebird Award from Glass Lyre Press. Recent publications include Spillway, A-Minor, Collateral, Slant, The Sunlight Press, The Pedestal, San Pedro River Review, and Rise Up Review. She is the founder of Girls’ Voices Matter, a filmmaking workshop for teen girls. Erica served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA, from 2013-2016. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she teaches, writes and edits the newsletter Sticks & Stones. The photograph by Goss that illustrated her poem also inspired it.

One thought on “Sheltered in Place

  1. I enjoyed reading this poem. I like the very specific images. Best wishes!

    Janet Ruth Heller
    Author of the poetry books Exodus (WordTech Editions, 2014), Folk Concert: Changing Times (Anaphora Literary Press, 2012) and Traffic Stop (Finishing Line Press, 2011), the scholarly book Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt, and the Reader of Drama (University of Missouri Press, 1990), the middle-grade chapter book for kids The Passover Surprise (Fictive Press, 2015, 2016), and the award-winning picture book for kids about bullying, How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Arbordale, 2006; sixth edition 2018).

    My website is


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