It’s the Midwesterner in me—to love Maine,
as the good beings of Saturn love Mars.
Consider pines demure with fog, profiles bent in prayer.
I am pious enough. Then, too, I am savage enough for a main
course of corpses, scarlet as the cheek of Mars,
so long as I am not the one to catch, to kill, to prey
upon. I have never been to Maine.
It makes no difference; I mourn bark marred
by white pine blister rust. Somewhere, despite their prayers,
a child’s favorite tree is dying. I have never been to Maine.
It makes no difference; Saturnians talk of dust storms on Mars—
furrow their brows, lower their eyes, mutter a prayer.
after Klimt’s Two Studies of a Seated Nude with Long Hair
He thinks of wind as he traces
the lyric of her hair. And, ambling
up her arm, he remembers that last
torrential rain—his oak tree
mutilated. His oak remembers that last
torrential rain—the heft of each limb lost.
She listens to the southeasterly wind
as he rails against the iron smolder
of arthritis in his joints. He wouldn’t
believe it, but she fantasizes about
singed fingertips, cracked thumbnails,
bruise-jaded knuckles—all those
He thinks of bird’s nests when
he discovers her feet. He reassures himself
that someone somewhere must have
written a poem about robin’s eggs. It would
not be his burden, then, to preserve every
pretty, doomed impermanence.
A bird’s nest unspools in the back
of her throat. She has never once
asked him for a glass of water. For one
thing, it is sacred: silence—pretty,
doomed impermanence. For another,
she is waiting to see what will hatch from her.
He thinks of burning the damn thing
as she tiptoes toward the door. He waited
for this clear, singing light all morning, all
winter, a lifetime. And it is nothing less than
ossified—colder than the hum of blood
beneath her skin, colder, even,
than the plot of white sheet gulleyed by
the twin imprints of her legs. How long
will this sheet remember the heat of her?
She burns like incense in this light. The way
she does it, to stand is to bless each vertebra
one by one, to serenade every silken muscle.
She is a waterfall moving in reverse. The
to be regretted is that she cannot watch her
heart pumping. Her first instinct, always, is
to maroon her clothes, to move
through the world nude. With long hair.
Biographical Note: Caroline Taylor is currently an undergraduate at Truman State University. She is pursuing degrees in creative writing and communication. She serves as the poetry editor for Truman State’s literary magazine. Her work has appeared previously in Windfall, The Scarlet Leaf Review, and The Rising Phoenix Review.