At Savage River Lodge
Only the trees
are raining now—
the storm passed
through the forest
like a night shiver
and was gone.
Out of the dark and into it, the August sizzle of crickets.
Wrapped in a blanket,
I sit on the deck
of my one-room cabin.
Twenty yards away, yours.
We're wise enough to know confinement sets us apart.
we feasted a friend
with other friends, the evening
ample and kind.
dizzy with it, and would
probably have slipped into vague solitary considerations,
had you not turned on
a light in your cabin
its glow barely
visible through the low
branches of an oak. So I
quietly tiptoed closer
to your window, bare footed
on gravel and grass,
and watched you be alone, not four feet away from me.
Everything you did
was unsurprising, familiar—
you already seemed
And I suddenly felt
I was no longer there,
while you went about your life without me.
What else was there
to do for me but to look
away, and walk
back into the dark?
Day dithers, no wind or breeze, and light
so drab it could be dawn or dusk.
Winter recedes to nothing again, what's
left of snow dull. Silent sparrows, still pond.
I throw a coat over my shoulders, step
out. How barrenness weighs—
I pick up a stone, hurl it at the chimes.
Their song seeds the silence, ripples
skitter in the pond, sparrows prattle,
there's a breath caught in the highest tree,
and suddenly all this nothingness is alive
with possibility, like the day I knew
I was pregnant with you.
And I remember it now—that void
inside me when nothing stirred, nothing
moved, my body between seasons, but drawing
trust from patience and patience from hope.
this is the viscous heart I hide from you:
gnashing, polluted, hooked to my ribs
like a burr, stuck there and stinging,
and it’s only four fourteen in the morning.
Those sudden shudders my waking alarm,
then the daily discipline of shutting away that heart,
shambling through the house, touching things,
stroking their shapes as if it could help me not
be the Bad Sower’s daughter each morning:
the pit from a seed he sowed and left to parch,
and no crows would feed on it. So I lived. I don’t
want to explain this further, I’m done with it.
But this for you: on the days I touch your books,
read your letters, recall a gaze, the delicate
dangle of an earring, or the throwing
back of a head in laughter,
it’s you seeding the first beat into the heart
I open. And as the sun heaves daylight
into the parched tree by my window,
and rats burrow away, when pigeons come
down to feed on dust and pizza crusts, I thrum
the light syllables of your names on my sill with all
ten fingers, typing them firmly into the brick,
and counting their beats, counting their beats.