Two Poems by Meredith Davies Hadaway

Growing Up With Brothers Meant Machines–

go-carts, shortwave radios, model airplanes, then old

            cars (with doors agape and missing

                        windows taped in plastic to keep out

rain)—and oil stains slickening the garage floor.

            Meant long hours puzzling over how

                        things worked, in a stench of sweat

and burning solder. But sometimes the clunkers started and then

            we four jumped in to drive, untagged, unlicensed,

                        unbuckled, orbiting the neighborhood.

Best of all were the motorcycles—there were two

            that summer, when we all still lived

                        under one roof.

We waited till our parents slept, then wheeled

            them mutely out the drive and down the block

                        to fire them up. I jumped on the back

of the smaller one, barefoot and helmetless for an illegal

            flight. I had no fear of the pavement

                        shrieking past, no worry that the wind

wove bugs into my hair. I hugged my brother—in the only

            way hugs were allowed—and off we rode

                        into the street-lit night.


My Grandmother’s Candy Jar

Sunday afternoons we ate with Grandma at her airless
house in Wesley Heights. She had a horsehair chair that
scratched right through my T-shirt, shelves of Reader’s

Digest Condensed Books and an ancient telephone
through which she talked and talked, her youth still trilling
in certain syllables. These were the nervous years beyond

her husband’s wartime death but before her youngest daughter
died of cancer—decades of reading abridged
stories in that prickly chair and more talking, mostly

to herself. But when we came she polished up her finest
things and made a meal. I don’t remember what we
ate—only my father’s soft baritone, my mother’s sharp

response, my brothers struggling to stay in their seats—
and a candy jar she passed around to signal we were
done. When we raised the silver lid, there was a mound

of shiny rectangles, a little heap of pleasures, from which
we were to choose just one, though I tried my best
to pilfer more. Just one, to unwrap with as much restraint

as I could manage, mouthing the smooth surface before
I bit into chocolate—semi-sweet—balling up the tinfoil
to roll inside my pocket like a small, extinguished star.



Meredith Davies Hadaway is the author of three poetry collections: Fishing Secrets of the Dead, The River is a Reason, and At The Narrows (winner of the 2015 Delmarva Book Prize for Creative Writing) from Word Poetry. She has received fellowships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council and multiple Pushcart nominations. She holds an MFA in poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts and was, for ten years, poetry editor for The Summerset Review. Hadaway is a former Rose O’Neill Writer-in-Residence at Washington College, where she taught ecopoetry and served as chief marketing officer for 30 years.