When the grapevine had thinned
but not broken & the worst was yet to come
of winter snow, I tracked my treed heart
to the high boughs of a quaking
aspen & shot it down.
If love comes fast,
let her be a bullet & not a barking dog;
let my heart say, as that trigger’s pulled,
Are all wonders small? Otherwise, let love
be a woman of gunpowder
& lead; let her
arrive a brass angel, a dark powdered comet
whose mercy is dense as the fishing sinker
that pulleys the moon, even when it is heavy
with milk. I shot my heart
& turned myself in
to wild kindness, left the road to my coffin
that seemed also to include my carrying it & walked
back along the trampled brush I remembered
only as a blur of hot breath & a howling in my chest.
From Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by Meg Day. Used with the permission of the author.
Even in this light, I can see
your want. A gulley appears
in the hard bare field between
those fenced brows & opens
into shallow beds tilled from temple
to temple as if the glut of a flood
had been swallowed to reveal
the land’s contour underneath.
Habit—or hurt—has made
your surface smooth (its true
smallholding kept submerged)
& I drink of this drought
like I’m told a new calf gasps
for air when its muzzle is cleaned
of that which had only just
kept it subsisting. Is it still
synesthesia if I have no choice
but to use my eyes as ears? You
laugh then, your teeth fitted
around the steady static grumble
of the sea below us, your eyes
a yes or no question I’ve waited
seasons to seed. Operator, are you
there? My hands have never been
so pleased to be my mouth, so
my mouth can be other things.
The moon is a sickle that swings
despite the plow’s augured return
& in my fingers is your name
I plant again & again in the ground.
Originally printed in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review: XXV. Copyright © 2017 by Meg Day. Used with the permission of the author.