The hour of snacks and homework
and we’re enlarging the world with adverbs
of scale. See how easily smooth becomes
how we can silk it farther to the sheen that
is most itself. You are taller, stronger, a
little farther from my center, but not
(may we stop here in the horizon note of
farther) and you want to know how accretion
applies to wild. One field left longer, one
by anything that sought to change it.
Say wild and the honeysuckle curls round
the cedar and the cedar’s silence mats a
soft floor in winter whose most faithful
the cloudhead. Say wilder and it’s less
bewildering, more why,
the cloud funneling now, the animals
hurried into the barn, and we’re left
staring at the floodwaters salting our
questions. Wilder rakes its impulsive
hand over us
and we ride off the road in the night.
And wildest, what sprung cosmos is that?
I hope we never see it enough to know
as here in this measured plot we keep
turning the hose on the fire ants and
froth up. Somewhere lives expanses
never perceived, deepest praise
all the lost coasts, outbacks, untrodden
tundras of this world, its earths too wild
to survive us. My boy wants to know
how wild it gets. As long as there is land
that has never breathed in
our borrowed must of oxygen,
then the mandrakes quiver in their sacs;
as you curl into sleep, the dryad
is out there pressing her most unburdened head
against evening’s northest altar.
|Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of three other poetry collections, including Little Spells, How to Live on Bread and Music, and Salt Memory. The recipient of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and a Pushcart Prize, she teaches at the University of Redlands in California. Twitter: @jksweeneypoet|
Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.