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—by Mary Buchinger

Mary Buchinger is the author of Aerialist (Gold Wake Press, 2015, shortlisted for the May Swenson Poetry Award, the OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Prize for Poetry and the Perugia Press Prize). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Cortland Review, DIAGRAM, Fifth Wednesday, Nimrod International Journal, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere; she was invited to read at the Library of Congress, and received the Varoujan and the Houghton Awards from the New England Poetry Club. Her collection, Roomful of Sparrows, (Finishing Line Press) was a New Women’s Voices’ semi-finalist. She holds a doctorate in Applied Linguistics and is Associate Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts.

What can you tell us about this piece—from its origin as an idea to the journey that brought it to us in this form?

    One morning in early spring, heading in to teach a class, I was riding the Red Line, which lifts out of a tunnel in Cambridge and crosses the Longfellow Bridge before dipping back down into the tunnel in Boston. Emerging into the relative light and quiet aboveground often feels like a slight miracle. On this particular morning, a rainy fog enveloped much of the Charles River, but I could just make out a little dinghy in a small harbored area along the river edge and in that dinghy was someone standing in a yellow slicker, glowing in the gloom. There was vulnerability and a frail balance—that standing figure in a tiny boat—and, also something stalwart and assertive in that yellow slicker, I felt a strong sense of recognition in that ‘tableau vivant’ and this gave rise to the first poem in what became of a collection of many poems entitled, Vagrancies of the Heart.
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