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Unknown Daughter

ISSUE:  Summer 1994
The one conceived as marriage shattered,
the white leaf drifting the spillway,
spilled over the wet depths, gone
as you, standing under mountain shadow,
feel a chill rise from where water was,

and, thinking now of that leaf, only itself
in a world of its likenesses, its buffets
from water, unexpected stone, sailing
on slick euphoric skids of current, I see
the lodged, crumpled husk it must come to.

But also sun’s brightness, that otherwater
flowing to pool like a gift-bed waiting—
and it isn’t too much to hope for risen,
distant notes, Verdi or Mozart, a scented
candle, a door, a face, life’s rich spillage

there, gnats orbiting, small creatures over
the water’s face walking as if to play
instruments whose voice is a form of love.
Sentimental? Even the horse in the meadow
scrubs his nose on posts where a mare passed.


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