In a Season of Absence

We plowed under the familiar
with the blackened basil leaves.
Now abandoned recipes wait
on the counter. Here is the absence
of cinnamon and sage, biscotti
and wine. Shadows settle
into empty chairs around this table
where no candlesticks soften
the room. Plants sent to hold us up
crowd this space. In the peace plant,
a cobra arches its hooded head.
The single gardenia lifts its odor
to everything unanswered. Night
is silent, except the echo of a seed
in its hollow pod. We stare
through the window, trolling
an empty sky, black as the earth
our feet tamped back into place.
Stars do not feed the masses.
The wilderness has found us out.
Darkness widens our pupils.

Reprinted from Light Subtracts Itself (Spartan Press, 2008). Copyright © 2008 by Maryfrances Wagner. Used with permission of the author.