Dawn Potter

Inviting the Muse to Harmony, Maine

For I shall be the first, if I live, to bring the Muse into my country.

—Virgil,The Georgics


When I opened the door of my beat-up

plywood porch and welcomed her into my

patria, she didn’t say hello or thank you,

just stamped snow onto the yellowed kitchen

linoleum and kicked off her new boots. In stocking

feet she stalked among the melting ice puddles

and knelt down on the hearth to warm her cracked

hands at the fire. She’d never been to our part

of the world before. I thought she might have some

questions for me. But those new boots were thin,

and soon her chilblains began itching and throbbing

under the heat of the stove. They turned out to be

the only story we could tell.


Dawn Potter is the author of nine books of prose and poetry, most recently Accidental Hymn, forthcoming in 2022. A finalist for the 2020 National Poetry Series, she has new work in the Beloit Poetry Journal, the Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Salamander, and many other journals. Dawn directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching as well as the high school writing program at Monson Arts. She lives in Portland, Maine.