Once a girl came knocking wanting
a priest but got me:
Would there be, were I to,
hell for my plate?
Who are you, why would you
ask me this thing?
I’m forlorn, twice gone, thrice ripped and stillborn –
and I would go.
Go not, promise please,
to this place that’s not there.
But go, she went, brief girl to the fair.
His chair, his bed
four children and a tree
This is not about what happened,
of which I have no right to speak.
It’s of reading of it in the Green Hall
psychology library, where I
checked out books – and of seeing them
in-between, the theater students in gym shoes and
flip-flops, walking up that mountain in May,
tired from the night before.
It’s about knowing first-hand how weather changes
and how big a mountain is – bigger still
when you need to get off. And not knowing,
but yes, knowing even that, how it is to be a
teacher unraveling after rational plans,
jumping up and down in the snow.
I still see at night the two lying talking
in the cave, that world of ice that keeps us warm.
She’s left the inner garden.
Here, though, she slows, her smile
recalling old reversals and raising briefly the prospect of shade’s
shedding its clothes, and being morning again,
naked in the flowers.