Subhaga Crystal Bacon


I fixed the bluebird house today.
It’s not long for this world, nails rusted
in the roof, and the new screws in the base 
accentuate the break that splits the face. 

I nearly trod on the first yellow stalk 
of daffodil, the line of them, post 
after post, along the fence where 
your horses used to run.

                                       Living here 
where you did before you died 
down by the river, I find your touch 
in small surprises in spring: the one 
yellow crocus in the front yard, the purple 
hyacinths outside the kitchen window. 

Hyacinth was a young Spartan prince, 
beloved of Apollo, and the west wind, Zephyrus
At play one day, Apollo threw a discus so hard 
it split the clouds, and as Hyacinth leapt to catch it, 
Zephyrus blew it off course to strike 
Hyacinth a mortal blow to the head.

Apollo could not save him. His blood grew 
sweet purple flowers inscribed alas, 
alas, the word for despair. What despair 
took you down to the river in the spring
and your own mortal wound to the head?

There’s a bench now to mark your place 
above the river’s endless flow. I stop and sit.
Questions I didn’t know—wasn’t here—
to ask, before your blood grew 
in new grass, year upon year.

Subhaga Crystal Bacon is the author of two volumes of poetry, Blue Hunger, 2020 from Methow Press, and Elegy with a Glass of Whisky, BOA Editions, 2004. A cis-gender, Queer identified woman, she lives, writes, and teaches on the east slope of the North Cascade Mountains, in Twisp, WA.