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.