Love Songs in Winter

By TESS TAYLOR

 

I.

At the end of the pier,
light on a rocking boat.

We walked away from land
and our rented cottage.

Beneath us the planks groaned.
I heard myself speaking love words:

Vowels floated
over the smack-putt of water:

We went on walking.
There was nothing to do but approach.

II.

By the river on the artificial island
I led you to a downed tree.
The twisted elm upended
in some winter storm.

Underneath, where roots had been
soil like cinnamon,
a cavern studded with seashells, tailings, decay.
From the rooted part

new spears grew. In the iron light,
mercurial, shifting with March,
they glinted black
then shone red, like a wound.

III.

I took you to the summer-house.
I took you in January.

A tree had fallen on the power lines.
Our heat and pipes were off.

The light was as I’d never seen it, lavender
over barnacled dinghies.

Winter colors torqued off kilter.
Emeralds glowered. The sea was orange sherbet.

In the house, everything was boxed—
silverware in baggies, platters wrapped,

towels mothball-packed away.
Still we lit the brass lamp in the bedroom.

I struck the gas and roasted you a chicken.
I served you wine and oranges.

And underneath the quilts that night,
I tossed, dreaming of mice

nesting in the unstrung double bass.
I felt the brewing storm.

In the dark you came to my doorstep:
The door flapped in the wind.

Although you slept beside me,
you were outside. You could not get in.

 

 

Tess Taylor is the author of the chapbook The Misremembered World, published by the Poetry Society of America, and The Forage House (forthcoming).

Click here to purchase Issue 03

Love Songs in Winter

Related Posts

Mesquite plant

July 2021 Poetry Feature: Burlin Barr

BURLIN BARR
but the wolf tree was there and there was a place where // trophies hung: entire / bodies slung there in semi permanence // turning into everything / imaginable between a fresh body and shit and a variety // of trash; except Otis; he kept his right in front / of the house even

Recife, Brazil

Translation: Poems by Lara Solórzano Damasceno

LARA SOLÓRZANO DAMASCENO
Nosotras, who for millennia have steered warships, / sailing through seas made invisible. / Nosotras, who walked barefoot through valleys of stinging nettle, had our name ripped from the book of history / our biography from the scientific treatises

Ice fishing

June 2021 Poetry Feature

CORRIE WILLIAMSON
You lamented the absence of a human sound for longing, / like the loon has, like the wolf. I think of you reading / to your donkey the day he died, the passage where Odysseus / kisses the soil, how the beast moved away from you, / stood quietly in the clover, then returned...