Summer nights, I still smell the honeysuckle at the edge of her voice
when she called me to listen to the bob-whites
across the field, their call and response a way to measure the interval
between dusk and white blaze as the moon,
our distaff and shadow-bearing source of profusion, rose. Wild roses
she called God’s grace.
Ohh, she says now, drawing out the vowel, making do. Her words,
like petals, have slipped by hank or handful
loose, and fallen in a clump at the foot of the last nodding peony.
How I loved to hear her say Chula, Coverly,
place names I might now graft to the new brood of roses, or chant,
giving weight to the nameless name of God.
Tonight the night is solstice bright, the moon close to brimming.
How long does long ago last?
Bred in the bone, this ache to hold her. This hunger to know
the child she has irrevocably become,
drawn so far inside herself I can’t quite touch the hem of her cotton night-dress
as she rises out of her body
and rambles beyond the spreading fields of wheat and stars, back
through the orchard of pear trees, across the wild meadows,
slowly, oh so slowly, going home.