The shadows of the couple 
	enter the dark field, cross
silent as a seam

having left at the center
a white box, white
as a box

for a birthday cake.  Inside,
the baby.
Abandoned there

in the tall grass,
in the night wind,

he wants for everything: food, warmth,
	a little
baby hope.

	But the world
swirls around the box.  The world

like a forest goes on

and paths go on through it
	each road leading nowhere, leading away

from the baby.  Still
in the center of the field,
his breath

rises quietly.  Grasses shiver.
Overhead, through trees

a sound approaches, like wings,
or this time, scissors.

More by Kate Northrop

Iowa

You imagined yourself
There on the overpass
Leaning through snow
Further toward cars

Their outlines still dark
Their headlights
Locked by distance
Then opening as if

Cautiously the beams
Lengthening over the median
Onto leaves the underside
Of certain leaves

And the drivers inside
Each face described 
By shadow each
Finally simple the skin

Lit by the vehicle's instruments
In the glow of the dash
The faces you'd dreamed of
Then gone beneath you

Leaning over the highway
Further toward cars
Toward headlights
Opening in the snow

Decorations

                                   (tired and high-pitched)

 

Ghosts have been tied into the trees.
At dawn they pivot
In the wind slowly.

Where the moon windows in
I am of those
Who can’t stand it

Kept awake, humming with trucks
While anything lunar
Won’t rut, ruminates.  Overhead, uh-hunh

Days, the neighbor’s girl plays a game: what is?
What is dusk, she says, as the sky
ends it begins.

I play myself. What is death?  What’s poetry?  What
Is time?  Time needs no hanky, time blows by
the Kleenex flowers.  Or time’s

so slow, starry-cold, even is cold
            and sure, little admonishments.

                       .


Were you awake all night?


I was.  I was awake all night.