Less of this
Cold crawls my back while I drive home
January night. No darkness like this,
except on prairie where I have
invested most of my time.
Cars wait along streets’ edges,
some on peninsulas of ice
rutted from melt and freeze,
others on their chassis’ shadows,
countless black pixels of night’s edge.
I am too stupid to wear my gloves,
maybe too interested
in touching zero,
at least resting on its curve,
that bubble where water is solid,
more solid than I am---
something I’ll try to forget, leave
on the stiff upholstery of bucket seats
after I pull into our driveway again.
Wine we’ve drunk still skunk-crazy,
bathwater to a crayfish collection
or something dying in a pot.
But we’re 17, been living
to live like this since middle school
when the halls smelled like cumin was roasting in every locker and
in each arm’s pit.
Now: prairie sky, an over-turned bowl of dark Red River soil;
the flap of the truck’s box down, a metal tongue
where we sip and say stories
we’ll tell 20 years from now:
Remember when or back..
I suspect nothing can ever be like this
not even this;
and because there’s no harm in being young,
we take another swig
of just about anything that’s bottled up inside.
Hip to hip, we floss;
the chaff of our meals
splatters the mirror
like the beginning of a Pollack painting.
Mascara streaks border
the country of my cheek;
around my eyes,
skin’s puffed like yeasted dough.
Age has softened my husband’s face
to some beauty before liquid,
before this night’s rest.
Nancy Devine teaches high school English in Grand Forks, North Dakota where she lives. She co-directs the Red River Valley Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project. Her poetry, short fiction and essays have appeared in online and print journals.
Natalie Orme is a freelance illustrator, co-editor of Etcetera and recent graduate. Her work has been exhibited in various places in Norwich and London, and includes drawing, printmaking and lots of other non-digital design. She is currently working on expanding her portfolio, highlights of which you can see on her blog.
Poetry in Aldeburgh 2017
1 month ago