After you left, days of summer came
too early, forcing blooms that will shrivel
in the next, inevitable, frost. I sleep and sleep
through the long heat. Afternoon shadows
slant across the grass. Women pass by in pale
dresses, bare skin. I close the shutters
against the sun. Later, rain. Snow
high and spare in the mountains. Aspens
greening by the river. Wild geese fly low,
dark wings skimming the water. I always
know what time it is where you are. Flowerbeds
fill with tulips, red and yellow, and blue,
blue iris. The river rises, dark and loud.
My flannel sheets are damp in the morning;
I fold them away, bring out the cotton.
A pair of mallards sit together on a floating
log on the muddy water. I watch patterns
of light on the ceiling, white plum blossoms.
Yesterday, I went to the nursery, brought home
pansies, petunias, sweet william. The river
runs faster, birch trees stand in the water
at its edge. Under the dark surface, something
rises, sinks, tumbles in the current. This is how
it feels to love someone else's darling.
Light moves through the rooms, darkening
with clouds. I sit alone in my beautiful
house. I do not dream. I remember
your hands in my hair. I think about
the translucent sky; the fast river; the rocks
along the bank, wet and mossy; how old
women have carried firestones for years,
from camp to camp, nestled against their
bellies. My bones are dry kindling, my flesh
sweet oil. Blue flames flicker along my arms,
across my flowered sheets. Shadows move
on the bedroom walls.