WHITE FLOWER ON RED EARTH OR WHILE ON RETREAT WITH FIVE WOMEN STRANGERS AND REALIZING MYSELF AS WIFE
Title after Georgia O’Keeffe
Today, the red squirrel eats the raisins I left the day before.
My tongue tasted the same sweetness.
On the porch, chatter.
But that, too, needs attention. Every sound has reason.
Like this morning, when I asked what bayed from the fields at four.
The women, all farm girls once, said: cow in labor.
This is something I should know.
While I slept, a life fell in.
Yesterday, one stalk of wild rhubarb roadside led me to the certainty:
I am here because my marriage is failing.
Back home, I flutter. Never stop.
But everything is a gentle whir here.
Even the Lady Gethsemani statue and her sign: pray, pray, pray.
And beside her, the gravestone marked Rosalina Healer. What irony.
All day I make trails. Feed every animal I see.
Give a grasshopper my sandwich heel.
Butterflies my toast and honey.
Birds, birds, birds. Eat my grapes. Please.
It isn’t until later I understand the molting I am trying to force.
As if one skin could replace another.
But there is magic as well.
This evening, heading back to town, a flock of butterflies
walked with me.
And I became the center of their movement.
Every few of my steps, they leapt too.
We formed a kind of rhythm.
This is what I want. Husband-wife rhythm.
But it has become too much to ask.
—from Rattle #33, Summer 2010