Opposite the parking lot,demolition rubble, and beyond it the garden of a neglected estate. The relict lay reading.
The great nothing was there. Always.
A bird half-convinces her she is hearing more than one line at once. Smell of dog, no, drunkard’s urine on the wrought iron. A button and a condom on the walk.
The relict lay reading in the yarrow, the red clover, the spent lilies. The blue spruce
toppling itself; one of the oaks dispersed in chunks. Rivulets threading her personal hill
where the relict lay reading in the spent lilies of the valley and
the tall candles of mullein that took over once the keepers were let go.
A pergola struggling to support its vine. All but aloud it struggles. The blue
spruce leaning; loyal oak in chunks. A trench
part-dug to re-route the run-off.
Rock at every strike
of the pick.
The relict cursing the contractor’s bad fill. Cursing the contractor’s grass.
Her smoke bush cleared the winter, and the spring, but Robert didn’t.
The relict lay reading in the contractor’s bad grass. I used to breathe sleep eat poetry.
Until could not see to read except the large-print books, mysteries, tell-alls, and
how to build waterfalls, but could see the hollows in the small of his buttocks, the fair hair feathering into his pitchy seam.
I could see rings of brilliance
beyond any visible human means.
The relict lay reading below a house so large it could rain in front with no cloud in sight around back. Unseasonable sadness of unseen sprinklers.
Reverberation of non-stop traffic
on Reading Road.
It doesn’t look a bit peaceful
out there. Pointing past the trespasser.
Standing on her personal hill. Her dress fluttering in the absence of the weakest wind. Exposing the loose flesh below the arm commonly called batwings.
What did it mean
that I was a girl.
This poem is excerpted from “Three Unpublished Poems,” which appears in our fall 2022 issue, Conjunctions:79, Onword.
We are grateful to Forrest Gander for selecting C. D. Wright’s previously unpublished poems in this issue.