Despite barriers of rat screen, parge, and tar,
despite blustering wind in the chimney,
I think I hear something setting up house
in the cellar. It’s a night to come in
out of. No lamps no heat no water. I could use
some music to muffle the barely audible
visitor, but I’m low on batteries and despite the wine
sweating and losing its cool, it’s my eyes
the candlelight has me having—a row of fat-wicked
flames doing the hula. I’m saying the sky
changed everything at 4:50 pm and I’m not sorry
I’m sitting in the bounteous dark, here
where it rarely gets worse. Why not hear cellar
door-rattle as merely wood—or six degrees
of whatever. How material am I to the sky?
Why should anyone need to decide
whether to be a fearless haunting or a deliberate
creature, warily, stealthily breathing?
Ellen Doré Watson‘s fifth full-length collection is pray me stay eager. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Tin House, Orion, and The New Yorker. She has translated a dozen books from Brazilian Portuguese, including the work of Adélia Prado. Watson served as poetry editor of The Massachusetts Review and director of the Poetry Center at Smith College for decades, and currently offers manuscript editing and workshops online.