Like a Lion, Like a Lamb
This is the part
where you say
“It was never like this.”
it always was. The rain
in West Virginia falls
as much as Seattle, maybe
more. Today wet-green & cold
only March would provide.
It could always turn slush, snow.
You say, “No,” even as I refuse
to believe it. The dog’s golden
fur caked in loose mud, shed
in long lines around the house.
a tickle throughout the day,
slow hours until they’ve tumbled
into night. This is the part
where you say,
“You were never like this.”
I always have been, exactly this:
steady rain that turns slushy,
a temporary snow right before the buds
push out from the branches.
I was born
the darkest night of the year.
every day after me filled with more light.
what if I prefer the dark?
In the light
these eyes sometimes deceive me,
of sight a kind of vision.
Better to trust
my fast-beating heart. Winters
in West Virginia
run unpredictable. Seventy degrees
& snow in April, just like the Prince song.
How did we
lose our way? The tall pines shudder—
a howling wind
echoes through the frost like a lost friend.
prefer the chill of winter to summer’s heat,
& my face,
tingling from cold, great puffs
I might swallow back whole.
Postcards to West Virginia
I left wild, wonderful.
Sometimes when I travel
through the Midwest I get
flatness headaches. Still, I have flirted
with that region so many years.
A trip to Kentucky and then Ohio,
places still in Appalachia, but not you,
I looked for your features,
drove the broken-dreams highway:
mountains stripped, shuttered motels, abandoned
equipment, a graveyard on the hillside
flanked by evergreens. I’d say, I’ll be home
soon. Did I ever leave?
Maybe I told you
I was once a dancer? It wouldn’t make much
difference. The pirouettes are gone
along with all my soaring leaps. The trees start
their burst of color: chassé, pas de bourrée,
glissade, grand jeté. Now, a certain dreamscape.
We passed your prison, your
Palace of Gold, white peacock
deceased. We passed into Pennsylvania
until we passed back into you, a fickle
lover who returns after the affairs.