“A rare gathering of starlings that looks like dancing clouds”
passed over my head this morning like a shiver in a graveyard.
The sky darkened, my dogs slowed their pace, and I still
struggled to hold up the dike against the flood of winter.
My mind pushed back the chill of late fall, back
against the solitude coming, the harsh quiet of the snow.
As long as I’m moving, I can’t remember you
but in winter the mind releases its starlings
and there you are, suddenly, in all your glossy magnificence,
and here am I, alone.
The Venetian blind is throwing itself at the window
Open on this windy night.
I am waiting for it to be dinner.
Everyone is waiting in their room for my father to come home.
It is winter.
Outside my room, I have been watching two gray squirrels
In a nut race.
The bigger of the two wins.
I hear the front door close.
My mother calls out
Your father’s home.
We open our doors
To go downstairs.
Maybe nothing is going to happen tonight.
The music goes on and it is Rachmaninoff’s “Concerto Number 4.”
I am number four.
Upstairs in the hall there is a map of the world
I always run my fingers over it, imagining I am blind.
Russia isn’t as flat as one might think.
China seems to go on forever.
I wonder if all the people in China are lost all the time
And if they eat off plates.
I would like to live in China.
I’d like to write about alcohol, but instead I’ll write about trees
because the tree, when felled, tells all her truth. Buzz saw
a tree and there is her soul laid out in concentric circles:
years of aimless joy, sunlit afternoons of umbrella splendor,
minutes of wild leaf dances and seconds of shivery wetness there
before your very eyes, and you cannot resist touching the
inside of her splendor.
There, too, is the evidence of straw-sipping dry spells, desperate root tips,
and so many years of thirst gone unnoticed
and the long lonely winters which froze certain limbs,
lost forever to the forest foragers.
A tree tells the truth at the end.
About the poet:
Lucinda Watson’s book of nonfiction, How They Achieved, was published in 2001 by Wiley Publishing. She has work published or forthcoming in Healing Muse, Jelly Bucket, Louisville Review, Pennsylvania English, Poet Lore, SLAB, and others.