What if, for us, there is no dark
no cold dripping November spruce, no
headstones, not even
a name, the seasons saying
relent with each drip. What if
vetch and sweet pea tire of their work—
honeysuckle exhausts its bloom? When the last
visitor, a century ago tossed an apple
it grew, but now gives up its twisted limbs, what then,
when one of us is not here to hold
the other crookedly—when even the name of this
small town is smudged, moved
from remember to–I really don’t
want this to be melancholy
so the chickadees catch the light at the top
of the alder we know
has to be taken down. Is this departure
or regret—how a constellation
hangs over the house, faithful painting
an entire season, and abruptly
the picture’s gone askew? We don’t believe:
there is a point beyond what can be
repaired between us,
that there will be a time
without our names.
*Originally published in The Rumpus, January 11th 2018.
Jory Mickelson is a queer writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mid-American Review, Diode, The Rumpus, Ninth Letter, Vinyl Poetry, The Collagist, and other journals in the United States, Canada, and the UK. They are the recipient of an Academy of American Poet’s Prize and a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry. You can follow them at www.jorymickelson.com and on Twitter @poetryphone.
Photograph by Monty Lov.