November 23, 2015

Nina Lindsay

IN THE END

These are my last wishes:
to lie beneath the rosemary,
the scrubby kind, used for hedging
municipal buildings, shelter

to rats and trash.
It smells good,
it’s cheap, it blooms,
you hack it back

when it gets too big.
For some reason
they never remove it, when it’s obvious
they should, and replant.

Lying there, who would notice
me listening:
the boys scheming
to hop the fence but not doing it;

the couple not quite yet a couple, at least
they don’t think so.
They talk about their week.
Who else would care, with such

obvious delight
about such crap? They are in love.
So is the dog
with the girl, who calls him

and he comes. And she throws it
and he goes.
The girl, last week, stole
a stuffed animal from the library.

She doesn’t know it was stealing.
It stays with her in sleep and smells,
now, like her most intimate self.
It is comfort and conscience, her heart

displayed so brazenly,
no one would dare think of it.
In twenty years, its memory
will roll up in her gut

like a stone long formed—
and this is how she will learn
to forgive herself,
and to treasure human error.

Now her sneakers shush
across the concrete, warm
August air laps against her ankles.
The dog is still going at it,

his ears flop
in rhythm with her breath.
My last wish
is to be that.

from Rattle #49, Fall 2015

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Nina Lindsay: “Poetry helps me to appreciate each part of my world in appropriate measure. It gives me the space—physical, mental, emotional—to experience the funny, the gross, the beautiful, the horrifying … so that I know what I’m dealing with when I step out into the day. Poetry helps me be a better person by recognizing myself and others, and I hope that my own poetry can do this for someone, too.” (website)