apology from a rural girl
cities are not sinister.
they’re neither sharp nor cold,
as my grandmother likes to fear.
they’re not made of undifferentiated building blocks
like congeries of criminals, bricks, or steel.
on the eighth floor on the east side
a woman in a red dress is playing chopin
(nocturne in c minor, op. 48, no. 1) alone on her piano.
two floors down a chihuahua is accompanying,
despite the many moons of dissolution since his wolfdom.
on the west side on the thirteenth floor,
see the young girl in her green smock
through a hallway window, pausing in legato light
just beyond her grandmother’s threshold.
she’s holding a tray with no tremble in her fingers.
curry steams out as though coaxed from a cymbal beneath mr. bhakta’s door.
some men sing while others are sullen in their suits or aprons, fifty/fifty.
persons dream beneath the moons, ergonomic fermatas,
which are tautly harnessed to, at least, a million separate rooftop puddles.
like the agony of water
–thinking of Jean-Paul Sartre
it was neither like the sound of umbrellas lashing open
nor a boat’s rigging fed through bow eyes at equal increments,
but was old world rawhide worn by an equation that equaled light
divided by density multiplied by yesterday and tomorrow.
when it left the trees beneath us, as it rose and wielded its heavy body
we felt surrounded by an army of hidden movement.
it barked three times, not the sound of a bird but bird nonetheless,
something decisive yet slippery, solid yet viscous.
high on the bluff we had thought ourselves masters of below,
but from beneath us this unnamed thing rose and flew off,
thrusting, thrusting, and moving over the locked winter waters
in possession of more than our minds.
the luminous discharge
and into an arc
the fox glares
a shining, honing, momentarily suspended – still – being beacon
and then lands, pounces ferociously, upon its target
only to find
that which it has pounced upon
can not be held forever in its claws
how sweet its whiskers, felicitous narrow nose, delicate features
how raw its ravenous bloody body, meat entering meat as it tears molecules apart
even while i sit on my couch and the winter wind rattles the glass in this cage of windows
the fox must be somewhere lancing the snow like an arrow to a bloody heart
the wind travels out over the belly of the world.
the sun sends out its four sons with legs that bend.
everything in the world is curved, has desire, momentum, target.
everything is sweet, delicate and ferocious.
the heart goes looking for it
through the foreground’s diaphanous gown,
snowflakes falling or milkweed blowing
through the center strokes and layers,
searching deeper down laneways, glancing off
rain-sheened streets or snow-blinding common occurrences
(the horses balk and tremble)
sifting past, then through the heavy lurk of shadows.
there, the trees speak! you must gather nearer
to hear what they are saying — your name?
some other word for home? hiraeth? —
you, draw closer. look over there.
not yesteryear but the break of sun, tomorrow.
even the skin hides it in places, then throws it
like wheat from a chaffing bowl (hosanna!) winnowing.
love’s no instant shot but longevity bathed and basked in inks.
it’s less the hands of georgia o’keeffe, instead the tone of them,
their curious crooked intonations, how the spectacle of them
matures through time to its purer form of longing,
and despite being easily iconic or dismissible, in the end they remain
a something profoundly, personally, emblematic,
erin wilson writes, runs, and takes photographs in a small town in northern Ontario, where she occasionally encounters a wolf or two when walking across the bridge at night. Her poems have recently appeared in Poppy Road Review, Rust + Moth, and Up the Staircase Quarterly, among others.