Blind to what tickles the delta of nerves there
you rub a humming with the back of your hand,
surprised by the soft pulse of a drowsy bee
that somehow hitched a ride on your chambray shirt
when a moment ago you went outside, barefoot
in cool October dew to kiss your love goodbye
through her driver’s side window beside late
rugosas that waited till now to speak, each petal
speckled with a hundred glistening tears of sunlight.
Winter still counties away, larkspur fooled by
recent heat into blooming again, the meadow
rue still tall, its edges only beginning to tinge
like an iconic actor with a full bucket list of roles
to gray into. The garden and hive you tend for another,
thriving these six years (or is it seven now?) since
she left. Easy to lose count with sun’s wheel grinding
memories smooth as it fades needles and leaves.
Easy to see numbers for what they are: cold
and stunningly meaningless as stars. Easy to say
winter would have killed him anyway, as you bend
and lift him from the kitchen floor with a spoon.
Recipient of the Edna St. Vincent Millay and Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prizes, Partridge Boswell is the author of Some Far Country (Grolier Poetry Prize). His poems have recently surfaced in The Gettysburg Review, Salmagundi, The American Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, and Plume. Co-founder of Bookstock literary festival and the poetry/music group Los Lorcas, he teaches at Burlington Writers Workshop and lives with his family in Vermont.