Roberta Senechal de la Roche is an American historian, sociologist, and poet born in western Maine and raised in upstate New York. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine and the University of Virginia, where she received a doctoral degree in history. Currently Professor of History at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, she lives in the woods outside of Charlottesville near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared in the Montreal International 2011 and 2015 Longlist, Literary Juice, Still: The Journal, the Big River Review, Front Porch Review, and The Colorado Review.

Also by Roberta Senechal de la Roche: Small Change Home Windfall

Roberta Senechal de la Roche


We look for our place in things visible grounded pillars, granite temples flocks that return on time blessing skies all over again with the passing sound of wings, Not the edge of storms where everything rises up in liminal transparent waves going fast enough to take you down if you get too close, if you step in And not the sea that rolls its transience over and over, spits spindrift in our faces with the tides as its terns and gulls go slide to restless stony beds offshore. But maybe you are inland, holding your breath as you watch her undo the final shoulder strap, deep rooted trees in lulls outside, leaves at their feet, snow settled down on upper limbs. It is not that any of this exists that matters, but how it passes over us, not minding annotations marked in red or lists of names, of days, and laughter or the color of her eyes as you move closer. You do not want to hear the last word said or see if she will turn or not now that you have set the scene with a single candle in the dark, knowing well what it might cost to be invisible again.

"Timepiece" expresses themes that run through many of my poems — themes that in part reflect my Native American background: a rage against transience, a sense of alienation from nature, and a discouraging search for the supernatural lost in a disenchanted world. Faith placed in the visible world seems problematic, as does the search for stability in human love. Hope instead seems to lie in the courage to be vulnerable and, in the end, a single candle flickering in the dark.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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