The Peninsula’s Poetry

curated by the Door County Poets Collective

This month’s poetry selections come from Judy Roy, a Milwaukee native who has lived in Wisconsin for nearly all her life. Since her retirement from teaching French and psychology in Marshfield, Wisconsin, she has lived in Baileys Harbor. Roy wrote her first poem in elementary school and has been writing ever since. She prefers poetry that is accessible, inviting the reader to share the poet’s perceptions and emotions through the use of language that is interesting, imaginative and evocative.

Roy’s poetry has been published in a number of publications, including Wisconsin People and Ideas, the Peninsula Pulse, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ calendars and Museletters, Free Verse, and Echoes Anthology. Her books include Slightly Off Q, by Roy, June Nirschl and Nancy Rafal; Two Off Q, a conversation in poetry by Roy and Nirschl; and Now and Then, a collection of Roy’s poems.


String Theory
by Judy Roy

Physics proposes seven or perhaps eleven
dimensions which may mean that you,
Mother, around an unseen corner,
are dusting the very Toby jugs
which I have just dusted.  Daddy
is once again, or still,
stretched out on the green couch
which I gave to Goodwill years ago,
smoking his pipe and reading Life Magazine.
Grandma is adding a pinch of lemon peel to her cake batter
and I, aged four, am sitting on Grandpa’s lap
during a WWII air raid drill,
all of trading strings which vibrate
in a celestial music which one of us hopes
may be God’s voice, singing.


A Cook’s Lament
by Judy Roy

Our first meal was half-baked chicken,
at once raw and charred.
I remember astonishment
that Settlement led me astray.
We bought a second-hand Nesco roaster.
Baked meats in mushroom soup
became the plat du jour.
Cheap, reliable, monotonous.
Children and jello arrived together,
then packaged pizza and spaghetti
sauce in foil envelopes.
As school days began, I graduated
from cake mix to hand made pastries,
from Wonder white to home baked bread.
Cookbooks multiplied.
I entered the gourmet, Frenchified phase.
Cassoulet, salade niçoise,
tarte and galette bretonne
were regulars at our kitchen table.
We relinquished eating for dining.
I grew older, grayer, rounder.
Blood chemistry issued warnings
of total system failure.
Camembert vanished,
replaced by broccoli, bean, and soy.
Meals are planned, vegified, dull.
But as Juliet longed for Romeo,
Josephine pined for Napoleon,
I lust for chocolate mousse.