After the Rain, Mourning

July 10, 1994|By Barbara Hurd

In the rinsed woods of Savage Mountain,

I stand listening to rain

darken the earth

and see some girl

in the distance,

her long arms swinging,

her thin hair falling across her face

as she bends,

sliding her fingers down

the long throats of lilies,

brushing wet hairs

and goat's-rue and woodmint.

I watch her open pores

and soak her blood

with violets and wild berries,

She is young. She is silent.

She does not know

to name these things.

But when she suddenly turns

and sees me she knows

my flesh

was once the cradle she rocked in

night after night

until the edges finally split,

and she uncurled,

slid one white foot out,

small, pointed, like a ballerina's.

We stare at each other

speechless

through thick wet trees.

She is only nine

and I, at forty,

know nothing now

but this long leaning over

the fog-stolen years,

my hands almost there,

almost soft on her cheek,

and the feel of her eyes,

wide and luminous, and her hands

lifting something towards me

and I am afraid

I will give

my whole life away

to take this

and start all over again.

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