Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2017  Vol. 16 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Seasons Change Before We’re Ready

though all along without noticing we’ve witnessed
the light’s weakening
felt a chill on our skin at dusk after days still
warm with trees’ sudden flames I wake to thinking
her voice passed unseen like smoke
outside the window again

or from the attic the smoke we boxed in
with scalloped-edged black-and-white photographs
saved from the house that burned the fall after she died
pictures not looked through since
holding the smell of ash from the season she vanished
none of these are the words that woke me

then drifted back to the dark her voice lives inside
and her face the first I came to know as face
returned to shadows flickering too dim to distinguish
though I hear their sounds from this distance
as if listening underwater
to waves lifting above one after another

deep blue ivory-crested under moonlight crossed
by clouds rippling in fitful wind
before I woke there were words
but I only hear echoes weaving now like the ribbons
she braided in my hair sometimes
bits of clarity I can’t make out anymore

I wasn’t alone listening
if I close my eyes will the words come back to answer
from the dark water where shadows
like hands motion far off
waving me toward them
if I sleep will they come closer  

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