Against a windswept darkening sky,
against the geometric bite of power lines,
against the muddy brown field,
bracing itself for snow –
Four turning trees
write a love letter to the sky.
Red maple trees,
Each crisp, bright leaf
snapping like the flags
of countries undiscovered,
and countries long gone.
two wings discarded-
their multicolored feathers
glinting in mottled light,
their stumps still bloody and damp-
warm from the body of the missing bird.
I drop to my knees,
marvel at their oily sheen,
marvel at the intricacies of sinew
I gather the wings to my breast
and fly them home.
later, when you sleep, love,
when I carefully,
so you do not wake-
slice your chest
and pull your armor away
I lean in to your overworked heart,
feel it beat against my cheek
like a bird.
My stitches are uneven
but they are strong
the wings on either side of your heart
they always hold.
I have given you
an iron spine
a rosebud mouth.
I have stitched stories into your skin.
a heart with wings.
I sew you shut,
feel it flutter and heat
feel it beat against your chest-
a bright, caged thing,
and mine forever.
Thirteen geese fly in formation –
sharp, black curves
against a skim milk sky –
over the head of a boy on the ground.
The boy is denim blue against a fading green,
hair so yellow it gleams.
He raises his hands, waves,
calls out to the birds overhead.
But all I hear is the call of geese,
their voices cold, cold, cold,
and flying away.
Samuel Palmer, Harvest Moon, 1830s
In autumn we make lists:
pumpkin soup and sweetened nuts;
tough winter greens; an armload of herbs drying at the hearth;
brussel sprouts, tubers, bright fleshed squash;
salted cheese curing in the basement;
casks of ale keeping cool underground.
We plan pies, freeze berries,
chant an endless litany of bread.
And you, my love, I shall feed and feed.
Here, I say as I seat you at my table.
Here, as I push in your chair.
Here is the bounty of the spinning world.
Here is food for the nose, food for the tongue,
food for the beating heart.
A seed placed in the earth becomes food – a miracle.
Food, gathered from gardens and heaped in kitchens
becomes palatable, irresistible – a narrative of pleasure.
And this is another miracle.
Love is a miracle, I say
as I slip roasted vegetables
into your open mouth,
as I lick the oil from my fingers.
Love is a miracle.
And so are you.