by Jane O. Wayne
I must wait while the sugar melts…
Every few steps on the dunes, she loses
her foothold––slipping, climbing again.
Too occupied to look back.
The beach. The waves. Every particle in motion.
She has ridden a horse that would not stop
cantering when she pulled the reins;
hands clenched, she still holds on––
her own body running away from her.
Coming home, she closes the door
behind her, slides the bolt
into the latch, as if a lock could
keep her safe, keep out momentum.
Lightning strikes or a bridge collapses:
such dangers happen elsewhere.
Then on the lawn––what a fence
cannot keep out––a goshawk mantling a pigeon
until only a few feathers remained.
Perhaps the next phase is no more
than fabric thinning at the knees, the elbows.
A pear left to ripen too long.
Sometimes at night she searches
for the blank spaces on old maps
before cities and highways
filled the land, those uncharted territories:
prairies and virgin forests she has only heard about.
A place to start over. Slow down.
But first learn patience, learn to wait
while the sugar dissolves.
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