“An Incidental Given” by Marie Dunford

Marie Dunford


As blue is made by light
scattered across the sky by molecules
of air, he moves through
her life, an incidental given.
Months pass without conversations
or letters to add to the small valise
she keeps on the top shelf
of the bookcase, and
it’s easy to let them pass:
languid Sunday mornings, lover
in bed, cup of coffee and book section
in hand, what she misses
are the cigarettes she gave up years ago.
Their lives don’t so much touch as
overlap from time to time
with the giddy fling of a spring
snow. A dormant thing
rousing with a stretch
and grunt, she drives to his
current address, where they walk
in the woods, pine needles springy
beneath their feet,
and speak in long sentences,
rethreading their lives
until the patterns are flush.
The sun flares
red from the western sky:
she can barely distinguish his
face as he disappears
behind a curtain of falling leaves.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003

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