The Write Space is a monthly Q&A series from Creative Salem covering a local writer and a North Shore space(s) s/he associates with writing. Questions? Contact [email protected].

Give us your best writerly bio. 
Cindy Veach has lived on the North Shore (Manchester-by-the-Sea) for 25 years. She received an MFA from the University of Oregon. Her debut poetry collection, Gloved Against Blood (CavanKerry Press), was published in November. Her poetry has appeared in AGNI, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Journal and elsewhere. She directs fundraising programs for non-profit organizations and coedits the Mom Egg Review (MER) Online VOX with North Shore poet Jennifer Martelli.

Tell us about your North Shore Write Space.

I do my best work at home, but two of my favorite writerly places in Salem are Starbucks and the Salem Athenaeum. You can usually find me at Starbucks (pen in hand) having a bite to eat (and a cuppa) before heading over to the Salem Athenaeum for a Salem Writer’s Group workshop (the first and third Tuesday of the month).

When I’m in Salem, not writing, I’m …

… shopping at Roost, hanging out with poetry peeps at Gulu-Gulu or enjoying a meal at Passage to India.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a new project that involves the Salem Witch Trials. I started by writing a poem for each of the 20 executed individuals and have now moved into other subject areas such as Salem’s witch kitsch culture. It’s very much a work in progress which means I don’t know where it will take me. Stay tuned!

Rose of Jericho

I’m not sure about this gift. This tangle
of dried roots curled into a fist. This gnarl

I’ve let sit for weeks beside the toaster
and cookbooks on a bed of speckled granite.

What am I waiting for? Online I find
Rose of Jericho prayers and rituals for safe birth,

well-being, warding off the evil eye.
At first I thought I’d buy some white stones,

a porcelain bowl. But I didn’t and I didn’t.
I don’t believe in omens. This still fist

of possibility all wrapped up in itself.
There it sat through the holidays, into the New Year.

Through all the days I’ve been gone. Dormant.
But today, in an inch of water,

out of curiosity, I awakened
the soul of Jericho. Limb by limb it unfolded

and turned moss green. It reminded me
of the northwest, its lush undergrowth,

how twice despite the leaden clouds,
the rain, I found happiness there.

From tumbleweed to lush fern flower,
reversible, repeatable. And what am I

to make of this? Me, this woman who doesn’t
believe. Doesn’t take anything on faith. I won’t

let it rot. I’ll monitor the water level. Keep the mold
at bay. I tend things, but I do not pray.

Copyright © 2017 by Cindy Veach. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 8, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

You can learn more about Cindy at www.cindyveach.com

Find Cindy Veach online at www.cindyveach.com.

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