No bright fruit now seems to hang for us,

we who never really saw a garden

or tasted anything to draw us to

the spinning core inside all seeds

or dormant roots coiled in their depths.

 

No taut reins seem to move us now

with unbearable symmetry

vexed equilibrium, balancing

apples, oranges with flights of swifts,

all out of place, but looking artful at first.

 

And what of this still whispers

through our bones, multilingual, falsetto

off ancient tongues, naming things over again

under the shade of knives, belated

breath pulsed out from hearts of wind?

 

What use is there in speaking now

when nothing here is reconciled;

not trees or endless streams,

nor wild geese in circling flight,

with what’s beneath the frozen ground?

 

Roberta Senechal de la Roche

Roberta Senechal de la Roche, Professor Emerita at Washington and Lee University, is an historian, sociologist, and poet of Miꞌkmaq and French Canadian descent, born in western Maine. She now lives in the woods outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. Her poems have appeared in the Colorado Review; Vallum; Glass: A Journal of Poetry; Yemassee, and Cold Mountain Review, among others. She has two prize-winning chapbooks: Blind Flowers (Arcadia Press) and After Eden (Heartland Review Press, 2019). A third chapbook, Winter Light, and her first book, Going Fast (2019) are published by David Robert Books.

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