“Flash of guilt or sorrow though the glass is smooth …”

Our “Small Things, Partial Cures” theme offers a second poem by Ellen Stone. You can download a full-size broadside by clicking and dragging the formatted version below — or scroll down to read in plain format.

This poem is also on Medium, in slightly different format.


by Ellen Stone

Flash of guilt

or sorrow though

the glass is smooth,

fits in the hand

like a flat rock

from the lake shore.

Now past middle age

what it means

to come home wanting

to wash the day off

like a stream over wet

moss rock, that shock.


Reminder that once

you were young, wished

you were older & pretended.

Kept beer in the culvert

at the end of the dirt road.

Commiserated together late

nights having sneaked out

of the house after parents

shut off the light. Love

you wished was yours,

sadness you threw off

like an old familiar jacket.


Now the house empty,

your own children gone,

you understand why

in the fragile twilight

you could take a flask

to the garden, sipping

a deepness that feels

like heat + spring +

wishing somehow

to go back. What were

your parents like, would

you love them, have a drink

together? Sitting on the

porch in the rain?


Ellen Stone’s recent poems have appeared in Passages North, The Collagist, The Citron Review, The Museum of Americana, and Fifth Wednesday.

She is the author of a collection, The Solid Living World.


True stories, honestly.