I went so deeply into the dream,
it might have been a different future.
La vita nuova seeded in an old frame.
I set the children’s beds by the windows
so light might brush their shoulders
and cheeks—so the moon might go
with them, our moon
old moon. The one they were born
under—not the fierce red twins
of days to come, swinging their
I bind the curtains in loose knots
so birdsong will wake them
and wind can river through the
long hair of sisters,
the salt scruff of their brother.
For some reason the floors are bare.
I lay down rugs: the pink, blue,
the verdigris weave.
On waking, it’ll be the first thing
like stepping on moss before tearing
out the screen door—for the creek
with its silver herrings,
for the ocean before currents warmed
and fish rode in—glassy-eyed, belly up.
Cold, the dear cold of the Atlantic
thick with seals before
a siege of sharks. What will, what might
they remember? The saltbox cottage
thrumming in wind like a gaff-rigged
sailboat blown inland.
Bay to marsh to meadow, beached
on a hill of bayberry, pitch pine.
The old world was ours. All of us
under the one moon.
Catherine Staples is the author of The Rattling Window and Never a Note Forfeit. A new poetry collection, Vert, is forthcoming from Mercer University Press in spring 2024. She teaches in the honors and English programs at Villanova University.