I sing the spell of your sentences,
whipping into sunlight, like clean sheets on a line.
Chunks of ice crowd the gutters,
and the snowmelt air trembles in a cloud
as sweet as the cataract in an old dog’s eye.
Oh, Age of Bronze, Age of Despair!
Let every comma cup our new breath.
The End of the Season
I drive into the dark.
The World Series sputters on the radio.
In the backseat my son weeps
and a girl holds his hand.
It is late autumn.
The eyes of cats glint along the roadside.
Jagged clouds frame the setting sun.
The sky is a riot of colors—lemon, salmon, plum—
and now soccer season is over.
The winners have taken their victory laps across the field.
Our losers have scattered into cars,
stunned and deflated.
Startled sparrows fly up from the grass
as my car rattles westward.
Chimney smoke threads from window-lit capes,
from tidy ranches and collapsing trailers.
at the strike of a shovel,
the earth will ring like a tamped bell—
The season is over.
My son weeps in the backseat
and a girl,
dear tender apprentice of love,
quietly holds his hand.
Oh, the small tragedies.
In the moments we live them,
they are blacker than roads.
Granny Has a Vision
Against the bloodbeat, against the necrotic
pang, against the eyeless house,
you steady yourself.
The silverware in the drawer
speaks your language—
the only language you hear today
inside the glistening mirage
your distractions have concocted:
A bridge is wet with river water, wet with tears.
The cherries bend low to listen.
Their branches strain against the small
wind of your thoughts, the jumbled
meaningless words, the old scents and computations.
Once again, nothing known as love understands you—
you, the soiled puppet queen, reeking of sorrow,
flapping your royal nail-bitten hands
on an island of rats, on an island
where only the kitchen knives speak.
How cold it is in this place.
Dawn Potter directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching, held each summer at Robert Frost’s home in Franconia, New Hampshire. The author or editor of seven books of prose and poetry, she also sings and plays fiddle with the band Doughty Hill. She lives in Harmony, Maine. For more about Dawn, visit her blog.