Lilah Hegnauer is the author of Dark Under Kiganda Stars (Ausable Press, 2005). She teaches literature and creative writing at James Madison University. Her website can be found here.
I can turn boggy in the minstrel heat. I can
coppice and counter.
I can grow coarse and sweaty
as elves, asking for nothing but you.
Haggard, good time, hubris, defiant for an anchor or
tide or shoal.
A record, only, of this: foamy stockpot, you
could have been an ocean, for all I knew.
I live to want the lush and slippery world.
I believe everything.
One day I will have a story for all this:
noon, leaves, day and chill
and time and no you were not yet.
I knew there was you, I knew
your legs and beard and pearly snaps.
One day I will tell you
how I burned and wanted to.
This world will certainly extinguish.
Warmth fades, banked snow recedes
and rises. You slowly shovel a walk—
fret your beard with your teeth.
It keeps snowing.
All the time there is,
and very little to make of it.
Was there ever summer?
A great twilight moth
striking against your body—
I extinguish it all, I am certain.
All grasstops and the stilled wind,
every loosened rope ripens in
idle heat. And I shore this world with you.
His hips gave so little, I could not
even blink. And then a wedge, spine
slipping open, click. A kingdom:
in the larkspur, in the goosefoot,
of the gooseberry jam; in schools of
monkfish, of hyssop; of quarter round,
of ham. Saltwort and stalwart and every
lit splint of this man goes seeking
my face exactly as it is. How can I be
so now: enough, festooned, salt
fingering even limes, even mint, even
vodka with dinner. Let it snow. We
dream—it is good we are dreaming—
let the salt pigs squeal, let us blow
torch, let the sugar sing. Blind, incautious.