Shadow – by Mary Makofske

He tries to cast a shadow—
choreography of palms and fingers—
duck, rabbit, monkey
but nothing appears

He tries to cast a shadow
but does not remember how

though he recalls his shadow
racing beside him on the grass of summer
and waving against a snowy hill

On the shore as he walked toward sunset
when he glanced behind him
his shadow followed, lifting
its wings like a bird

He tries to cast a shadow
in the yard beside the swing set
but light echoes only
the budding maple, emerging daffodils

At dusk he drifts into the house
where his mother turns her head—
what is it? No scent, or sound,
not even a shadow appears


Mary Makofske’s latest books are The Gambler’s Daughter (chapbook, The Orchard Street Press, 2022); World Enough, and Time (Kelsay, 2017); and Traction (Ashland Poetry, 2011), winner of the Richard Snyder Prize. No Angels is forthcoming in 2023 from Kelsay Press. Her poems have appeared in 60 journals including Poetry, Poetry East, American Journal of Poetry, Southern Poetry Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, and in 20 anthologies. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.