The last time we kissed our friend,
was in upstate New York. She lived
off a patch of gravel-strewn lane where willows
overhang the road’s shoulder and the light’s
raked retreat can mask subtle patterns
ahead: a scrap of lawn, hoarfrost,
the taut chill of breath. Where, slowly, silver
branches switch and set offering blazed,
left over leaves as fodder.
But who can afford not to dwell,
at least once, where green becomes shelter,
flourishes, then fades?
We tried to convince her, come back
to the city, but she was as silent
as the forewarned crickets and receded, sweet
crocus, to haunt our prayers: Rose de chine,
turtle dove…lover’s knot…she turned away,
her gaunt face still harboring quick slants of light
and honey-slate curls:
compass, sunburst, crazy star,
wine, oh! unstitched weave of colors, still.
Michelle Perez was a James Michener Fellow at the University of Miami. Her poems have appeared in THEMA, Earth’s Daughters, and other literary journals.