My mother said that Uncle Fred had a purple
heart, the right side of his body
blown off in Italy in World War II,
and I saw reddish blue figs
dropping from the hole
in his chest, the violet litter
of the jacaranda, heard the sentence
buckle, unbuckle like a belt
before opening the way
a feed sack opens all
at once when the string is pulled
in just the right place:
the water in the corn pot
boils, someone is slapped, and summer
rain splatters as you go out
to slop the hogs. We drove home
over the Potomac while the lights spread
their tails across the water, comets
leaving comments on a blackboard
sky like the powdered sugar
medieval physicians blew
into patients' eyes to cure
their blindness. At dusk,
fish rise, their new moons
etching the water like Venn diagrams
for Robert's Rules of Order
surfaced at last, and I would like to
make a motion, move
to amend: point of information, point
of order. I move to amend
the amendment and want
to call the question, table
the discussion, bed
some roses, and roof the exclamation
of the Great Blue heron sliding
overhead, its feet following flight
the way a period haunts
a sentence: she said that
on the mountain where they grew
up, there were two kinds
of cherries—red heart
and black heart—both of them

From Tryst by Angie Estes. Copyright © 2009 by Angie Estes. Used by permission of Oberlin College Press. All rights reserved.