Above a pond, I sit on a wooden bench
and throw pebbles into the willows.
A rush of sunlight and wind creates a path in a channel of water, dances
between the melting ice and brown islands of bulrush.
The resident osprey, its eyes the color of yellow grass,
follows my tossing hand.
Love is a diorama of inner life in an outer world.
I look down and find a chunk of fossilized rock
with an entire Paleozoic shell sticking out.
I am not afraid of love, but terrified of how it is my steady guide.
Once, when tired, I wandered off the trail and crawled under a tree to rest.
I woke to a young brown bear licking my boot.
Nothing had ever felt that good.
When I say I love you, what I mean is I wouldn’t leave you.
Even if love is not loved back it doesn’t go away,
although it may become a black hole.
Could this be what it’s like for trees to lose the green from their leaves?
At noon the light shifts and the pond turns
into a mosaic of opaque green ice.
Orange carp rise in these cold watery chambers to breathe at the surface.
Always I am in love. Face to face with the sun. Face to face with the moon.
From Not into the Blossoms and Not into the Air (Parlor Press, 2019).
Copyright © 2019 by Parlor Press. parlorpress.com. Used with permission.
You meet someone and inside of them
you know there swells
a small country brimming
with steel and beasts of labor.
You love the country
and so you fear it.
Its flora fascinates you.
You wish to visit, though
you worry you won’t
wear the right clothes, that you'll fail
assure the clerk in the flower
shop you aren’t a thief.
They’re only roses. They remind you
of the one you love.
Even with your eyes closed
in your own mouth you’d know
Copyright © 2018 by David Welch. Used with the permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Quarterly West Issue 94.
And sometimes I know I am having a feeling
but I don't want to have a feeling so I close up
like a book or a jacket or a sack which holds
a body. Don't mind me, I'll just be dead in here,
you can drag me wherever you want, the body
seems to say. You laugh like a little silver moon.
You laugh like the moon on the water ignored
by necking lovers. You said you didn't like that word
because something so sweet should not call to mind
giraffes, but I love the word “necking,” the way it twists
in on itself, like what I do to you when I want
to disappear in you, leave the sack of my body
strewn on the shore of you. Sometimes I'm inside
the sack and then sometimes I am nothing more
than the stitching which keeps it from bursting.
Sometimes I carry the sack and sometimes the sack
carries me. I only know the difference sometimes.
Do you ever feel like it's difficult to figure out
what you're feeling? I have that all the time, especially
when I look out a window or at your open face
across from me in bed, or your closed face
when I see the quiet pain you contain, or which
contains you. I know you're more than that
frown which makes your face resemble a fist
with gorgeous black hair. I know you contain more
than the reaction to my words or my body.
Some of us have to learn to love with hands
interlocked, but each with our own hand.
Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Siegel. Used with permission of the author. “[And sometimes I know I am having a feeling]” originally appeared in Blood Work (University of Wisconsin Press, 2015).