Between pines, a pause
in the forest, transparent, yet visible,
like how no, in its nothing
is still an answer, is the water
I could not give her, the wish
taken out of the well; and her bones
left to vanish in their circle
become the circle, are the clearing
I approach. And when at last I am alone,
I ask her death to hold me, the way air holds up
a bird above its home. Or how my seat, when I stood up
became empty, and remained—in those moments
when she asked and I walked toward her—both an end
and a waiting,
and an end to the waiting.
Copyright © 2018 Joanna I. Kaminsky. Reprinted with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Autumn 2018.
Body my house my horse my hound what will I do when you are fallen Where will I sleep How will I ride What will I hunt Where can I go without my mount all eager and quick How will I know in thicket ahead is danger or treasure when Body my good bright dog is dead How will it be to lie in the sky without roof or door and wind for an eye With cloud for shift how will I hide?
From New & Selected Things Taking Place by May Swenson. Copyright © 1978 by the estate of May Swenson. Reprinted by permission of the estate of May Swenson. All rights reserved.