Field Guide to Alma Avenue and Frew Drive by Sarah Ann Winn


Pond Life
Plate 60 Newberry Family (Aeshnidae)
Blue darner, Aeshna, Diagonally striped lawn, beside swampland, cat tails and milkweed verge tiger lily. Blue eyed darner. Child of child bride, pale blue eyes and a taste for lake water, a taste for old paper, triangles of dog-eared pages crisp on her tongue. Ponds and lakes.

Green darner, Anax junicus. Cut off jean shorts, green wrist band, mark of Celtics, follower of Larry Byrd. Pale blue eyed maple climber. Binder full of scratch and sniff stickers, her favorite is bubble gum. Scratch the one picturing the dragonfly. Litoral.


Plate 61 Pond Damsel Family (Coenagrionidae)
Bluet, Enallagma. Named for Loretta Lynn. Wings the oblong memory of loss, fluttering fast enough to be almost transparent. Ponds and Lakes.


Plate 62 Skimmer Family (Libelllulidae)
Meadowhawk Sympetrum. And when I found that my grandmother once sacrificed her sight as a seamstress, threading needles in a factory, punching a line of embroidered flowers others would wear then ruin in washing machines, her needlessly neat stitches wasted, the poppies fluttering under her belly, my sudden gulp of regret. Out of swamps, low brush. Nearly flightless.

Eight-spotted skimmer, Libellula forensis. Lakes and ponds, ponds and lakes, eye-level algae. Glass worlded.



Fields and Forests, Inland Shores
Identify houses as you would birds, by markings on their wings, on their fields mowed with latte designs or the frowsy swampland across the road, gone golden, gone goldenrod, gone tiger lily. Seen in profile from a speeding car, you may only be able to identify the outline of their bodies, baroque with wild grapes, until you come to the porch which gangles, knees folding and unfolding from steps to run inside for a pop.


Plate 70 Wetlands and Drylands
Poppy, Papaver rhæas. Ephemeral. Land stripped of blooms. stippled fields then cloudless skies. Gone by winter.
Cattails, typha latifolia. Common, familiar. Depth of stand depends on depth of water. Narrow swaths wave beside deeper ponds, preventing erosion. They keep shorelines intact, guard memory. In floods, in swamps, they grow tight and populous, trying to filter harm. They dream of muskrats, flicker redwing blackbirds, draw nesting mallards, though they have no children of their own. Edible rootstocks and shoots. They offer every part of themselves to use, holding nothing back. Become baskets and nests, fold over when it is time.


Plate 71 Shores (sung to the tune of Heads and Shoulders Knees and Toes)
Swamps and sled hills, ponds and lakes, ponds and lakes, ponds and lakes.
Swamps and sled hills, ponds and lakes, lakes and ponds froze over.




Sarah Ann Winn lives in Fairfax Virginia. Her poems have appeared or will soon appear in [d]ecember, Flycatcher, Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West and RHINO, among others. Her chapbook, Portage, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications this winter. Visit her at or follow her @blueaisling on Twitter.