Dannye Romine Powell


Dannye Romine Powell’s fifth collection, In the Sunroom with Raymond Carver, won the Roanoke Chowan Award for 2020 for the best book of poetry published that year by a North Carolinian. Her poems have appeared over the years in Harvard Review Online, Ploughshares, Poetry, 32 Poems, Arts & Letters, Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere. Her poem, “Pride,” will appear in The Southern Review in 2022.


We Sit in the Red Glider These Late Summer Evenings

and you are thinking of baseball, while I am thinking of my mother who, at exactly my age, suffered a stroke leaving her left arm useless. But you—you are lifting your chin to Jupiter or Venus and smiling a smile you don’t even know you’re smiling because in your mind the bases are loaded, someone whose name I never remember is up at bat, stance wide, elbow wagging, and I am glad you are not concerned with the nearness of fall, the diamond empty, the stadium silent and our favorite wool sweaters airing on hangers hung from the branches of the ancient viburnum— those familiar sleeves limp in the wind.

I wrote this poem at age 79 (I’m now 80), the same age my mother suffered a major stroke that paralyzed her left side. I worried that whole year that I would also suffer a stroke. So one evening, as my husband and I enjoyed the cool air outdoors, I was thinking about what fate might await me, and I looked over at my husband, and he was smiling this wonderful smile, and I could tell he was thinking about baseball and not giving one thought to our mortality. The differences in our personalities have kept our marriage alive and lively all these years.