Beyond High Windows

Original price was: $11.00.Current price is: $9.00.

poems by 

Mary Allred Crews

Poetry chapbook, 48 pages, $11 cover price

($9 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-396-2

Released: 2012



MCrews_PxMary Allred Crews

Mary Allred Crews grew up near Dunn, North Carolina, graduated from Queens College and taught high school English in Charleston, SC before moving with her husband to Charlotte where he practiced law for more than three decades. Mother of three and grandmother of nine, she has taught both Yoga and Creative Writing for 25 years. A free-lance writer of non-fiction, she has published in Redbook and has written numerous commissioned articles; but poetry has been her first love since childhood. Her poetry, prose and teaching all center around memoir. She has had poems in The Lyricist, The Crucible and The Charlotte Poetry Review. She has won several poetry awards, including the 2012 Poet Laureate’s Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society. Writing to face the sudden loss of her husband through time’s changing perspectives–and to honor their life together–became the catalyst for this collection of poems.

These poems go straight to the heart, taking us into the poet’s brave exploration of her journey through personal grief over the death of her husband, and moving us “beyond high windows” into a world that brings solace, nurturing and healing. Meticulously crafted, Mary Crews’ poems are as electrifying as they are eloquent, as sensuous as they are soulful. A vibrant, profound collection.

–Irene Blair Honeycutt,
Before the Light Changes,
second-place winner in the 2009
Brockman-Campbell Book Award
by Judge David Romtvedt,
Wyoming Poet Laureate

Beyond High Windows by Mary Allred Crews is one of the most beautiful books of poetry I have ever read. It is first of all a love story, a love story in which every poem in the book adds to the extraordinary narrative of a relationship between two people that cannot be broken, even by death. I love the clarity of the poems, the hard-earned poignancy of them, and the way Mary Crews lets us know so clearly that love and loss and grief are arm-in-arm companions. When I finished the book, I just went back to the beginning and read it again. It will stay with me for a long, long time.

–Anthony Abbott,
author of If Words Could Save Us

We Shine Like a Match

for an instant
in a cave. I know

how short
a matchstick is,
how brief

one flare
in the labyrinth
of stars.

A few orbits
of the sun
and this night

will seem as
distant as
the comet we saw

streaking millennia
into the future.
The moon too will turn

its sheen away,
erasing faces
in thickening dark.

But we are here.
The imprint
of our flame marks

the ground
and something we gathered
and built and lit

already is traveling
beyond where we can see.



I’ve called 911.
This is how I know it’s a dream:
The ambulance is silent,
just the window flashing
like lightning. Our window.
We’re at home, in our own bed, safe
as anyone can be.

This is how I know it can’t be real:
I’m not wringing my hands or pacing
or screaming hurry oh God hurry
to medics in our house
repeating practiced questions.

This is how I know:
In the next room where they’ve sent me
I calmly call my daughter,
calmly dress
like I’m going to the store
in the middle of the night
while just beyond the door

a defibrillator sets
and resets,
the faint pulling sound
like heavy nets
scraping the lip of a distant boat,
being drawn in from the sea.


This Book Will Never Be Finished

One evening
while we read our books together by the fire and you showed me
how to fold cranes for the grandchildren, your fingers
sure on the bright paper squares, I knew
I’d spent way too many nights hurrying through dinner
to my desk upstairs, too many weeks away studying, striving.
Then and there,
in the living room we’d rearranged around the hearth,
sofas right-angled, tall lamp in the corner shining for us both,
I decided to come home from searching everywhere
for what I had right here.
It didn’t seem important to say it, only to know it and begin.

After you died in our bed,
your robe on the chair, clock set for seven,
for years scenes flashed across my sleep:
My father, crumpled beneath forsythia on his stroll to breakfast.
The tennis serve your friend never returned.
A spoonful of broth trailing to my uncle’s pillow.
Our doctor’s swim, ended at sea.
The soprano late for choir, forgetting to look both ways.
Medics in our house on a night like any other,
your briefcase by the door.

Finally you spoke to me in the dream, parsing your words
for emphasis, so like you. Listen, you said. Listen to me.
We are all temporary.
I’ve never stopped looking for our perfect closing.
The kiss. The said goodbye.
No matter what I write, it isn’t that. It never can be.
Nothing is ever finished. It simply stops.
One ragged breath and the next not there.

If you would like to read more of Beyond High Windows by Mary Allred Crews, order your copy today.

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