|by Frances Richey|
What do you say when you've forgotten how the grass smells, married to the dark soil crumbling in your hands? When the sun makes a bed for you to lie in? When a voice you've never heard has missed you, singing down your bones-- it's taken so long to get here. Now I'm breathing in the mountains as if I'd never left. And when I go inside I'm surprised to see a lime green worm has landed on my shorts, inching his way across a strange white country. He stops and rises, leaning out of himself-- a tiny periscope peering from the glow of the underdream where there are no symbols for death. He looks around. I place my index finger at the tip of what I guess to be his head, though I don't see an eye or an ear, or the infinitesimal feet as he crawls across my palm-- a warmer planet. Lately I've wondered what hand guides my way when I am lost. I can't feel him though I see him rise again, survey the future, flat and broken into five dead ends. I curl my fingers to make a cup and carry him like a blessing to the garden-- What will happen next is a mystery-- to be so light in the world, to leave no tracks.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
|by Beth Ann Fennelly|
Though we vacationed in a castle, though I rode you hard one morning to the hum of bees that buggered lavender, and later we shared gelato by a spotlit dome where pigeons looped like coins from a parade-- we weren’t transported back to newlyweds. We only had a week, between new jobs, we both were pinched with guilt at leaving Claire. When, in our most expensive, most romantic meal, you laid your sunburned hand upon your heart, it was just to check the phone was on. When the trip was good as over--when the train would take us overnight to Rome, the flight would take us home--I had the unimportant moment I keep having. I wonder if we choose what we recall? The train was unromantic, smoky. We found a free compartment, claimed the two bench seats, and eyed the door. Italians who peered in and saw your shoes, my auburn hair, our Let’s Go: Rome, soon found another car. And we were glad. But then, reluctantly, two couples entered, settled suitcases on laddered racks, exchanged some cautious greetings, chose their spots. Then each one turned to snacks and magazines. The miles scrolled by like film into its shell. Night fell. Each took a toothbrush down the hall. Returned. Murmured to the one he knew. The man beside the window pulled the shade. We each snapped off our light, slunk down until our kneecaps almost brushed. And shut our eyes. Entwined I found us, waking in the dark. Our dozen interwoven knees, when jostled, swayed, corrected, swayed the other way. Knuckles of praying hands were what they seemed. Or trees in old growth forests, familiarly enmeshed, one mass beneath the night wind’s breath. Or death, if we are good, flesh among flesh, without self consciousness, for once. Husband, five years husband, you slept, our fellow travelers slept, scuttling through black time and blacker space. As we neared the lighted station, I closed my eyes. Had I been caught awake, I would have moved.
|by Carl Phillips|
There's an art to everything. How the rain means April and an ongoingness like that of song until at last it ends. A centuries-old set of silver handbells that once an altar boy swung, processing...You're the same wilderness you've always been, slashing through briars, the bracken of your invasive self. So he said, in a dream. But the rest of it—all the rest— was waking: more often than not, to the next extravagance. Two blackamoor statues, each mirroring the other, each hoisting forever upward his burden of hand-painted, carved-by-hand peacock feathers. Don't you know it, don't you know I love you, he said. He was shaking. He said: I love you. There's an art to everything. What I've done with this life, what I'd meant not to do, or would have meant, maybe, had I understood, though I have no regrets. Not the broken but still-flowering dogwood. Not the honey locust, either. Not even the ghost walnut with its non-branches whose every shadow is memory, memory...As he said to me once, That's all garbage down the river, now. Turning, but as the utterly lost— because addicted—do: resigned all over again. It only looked, it— It must only look like leaving. There's an art to everything. Even turning away. How eventually even hunger can become a space to live in. How they made out of shamelessness something beautiful, for as long as they could.