A kind of counter-
blossoming, diversionary,
doomed, and like
the needle with its drop
of blood a little
too transparently in
love with doom, takes
issue with the season: Not
(the serviceberry bright
with explanation) not
(the redbud unspooling
its silks) I know I’ve read
the book but not (the lilac,
the larch) quite yet, I still
have one more card to
play. Behold
a six-hour wonder: six
new inches bedecking the
railing, the bench, the top
of the circular table like
a risen cake. The saplings
made (who little thought
what beauty weighs) to bow
before their elders.
The moment bears more
than the usual signs of its own
demise, but isn’t that
the bravery? Built
on nothing but the self-
same knots of air
and ice. Already
the lip of it riddled
with flaws, a sort
of vascular lesion that
betokens—what? betokens
the gathering return
to elementals. (She
was frightened
for a minute, who had
planned to be so calm.)
A dripline scoring
the edge of the walk.
The cotton batting blown
against the screen begun
to pill and molt. (Who
clothed them out of
mercy in the skins
of beasts.) And even
as the last of the
lightness continues
to fall, the seepage
underneath has gained
momentum. (So that
there must have been a
death before
the death we call the
first or what became
of them, the ones
whose skins were taken.)
Now the more-
of-casting-backward-than-of-
forward part, which must
have happened while I wasn’t
looking or was looking
at the skinning knives. I think
I’ll call this mercy too.

Source: Poetry November 2006

Linda Gregerson

Biography
More poems by this author

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