MacMahan Island


It’s just flashes that we own, little snapshots made of breath and of bone.
— Jeffrey Foucault


Rainbow laces in our scuffed Nikes
brush along a path. Feels like miles.
Moss, like water beneath the whaler, rolls
into the forest. Our babysitter Ala
wears lavender bandanas, takes cares of us
those long August days

while our mother adjusts her camera lens,
our father prepares a sermon
for the island church. Feels like miles
to Cory’s Cove, and more miles
to the general store. At home, in winter,
my mother’s fingers turn slides

right side up in the projector, holding them
between her eyes and the light,
then placing them one by one into their slots.
We watch bright yellow raincoats
and red boots, our summer-scratched
mosquito legs, the green

of our moss kingdom. Let me put you there:
a small, white church, MacMahan,
a Maine island. Summer congregation traipsing
pine needles down a center aisle. We believe.
At age five, my sister and I pretend we are lost
in the forest. A plastic spyglass, a compass

leads us away. In two years, our parents
will separate. All that is, seen and unseen.
They ascend.
This, before I will understand
why Ala’s new breasts hurt, before
the general store will burn, shining water,
to the ground. The life of the world to come.

I had heard about lost explorers, shipwrecks.
Where were our parents
those afternoons? Just behind or ahead of us,
I am sure. We were always turning,
responding to someone calling a name,
even someone else’s name.

SARAH ANDERSON holds an MFA in poetry from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers and has 15 years of high school teaching experience. She co-operates The Word Barn in NH, and has been published in Hamilton Stone Review, The Oakland Review, Off the Coast, The Café Review, and December Magazine. This piece was previously published in Port Smith.

The Coil

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Indie press dedicated to lit that challenges readers & has a sense of self, timelessness, & atmosphere. Publisher of @CoilMag #CoilMag (http://thecoilmag.com)

The Coil

The Coil

Literature to change your lightbulb.