A Cloud of Drench Bearing Down

An odor in the breeze—spruce; palosanto; silver dust 
of a hard freeze. This isn’t love-love, I say back. But 
what do I know—except 
                                              I’ve gotten close enough to too far 
enough times to know 
                                         it is possible to pull back, and for that thrill 
to be enough. But what damage that moment does, the having of it 
—the halving of it—again and again in the mind, 
I cannot say. How leaves, 
                                              no matter how long they soak in the river, 
will never turn truly black—though how could I be sure of this, either, 
without staying the weeks to watch. 
As the day drains 
                                  out the window, I become more and more 
the focus of my own gaze. Light leaches from every 
silvered feather; every bone-bright twig 
now grey as silt—the great equity 
                                                                of darkness coming down. 
How you can find that what you believed was singular, and needed 
to be, is not— 
                            This, too, a trick of light or distance— 
the burst cattail no cattail at all, but a stalk 
of lush grass weighted with snow. 
This, too—how could you

Copyright © 2022 by Emily Pittinos. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 14, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.