Roman Boyko CC
A sapling sprouts from the slumped
hollow, this rotting stump the severed
half of a two-trunked oak. The tall twin
that remains cradles the new. Sharp
scent like a snuffed candle end.
What centering can there be
if soil is sick, blasted with blight?
Tomatoes blacken, pulpy, inedible
—their ghosts inhabit the garden,
cling like a film upon our faces.
Spring-water is too cold, sideways
through song it flows and chimes.
The chill paralyzes, rings bitter
and metallic against the vessel
be it crystal or hammered tin.
An offshoot will thrive, shape shows
in shadows, curtained and low.
Is it safe? Stories at bedtime,
the task in the old tale—to climb
a mountain of ice-etched glass.
White cairns mark each seaside
turn in these well-raised walls.
I’m halted by washes of wind,
tumble-fears, hesitate to clamber
over. A compass rose blooms.
Fatigue blows like old petals,
musty rose forgetful. I fumble
through pebbles for soft fragrant
scraps. Stones still hold day’s
heat as evening cools sandy soil.
It runs through the funnel
of my palms. Stasis – I’m
unable to stay, reluctant
to move. Fearful of both
the settling and the speed.
Vacillation yields, in time.
I can’t go on. I’ll shuffle off.
Wind doesn’t hesitate, white-
hearted and reverent, it pelts
me with spray, praises the day.
You’ve had a miser’s rain for us a philanthropy of snow
Ice is our residue the bucked-up humps a solid layer
thickening pavement so we walk inches above ground
If ice is suspension fire is thaw and also consumption
But what do I know of fire? I’ve no need to chop wood
my hearth is just for heart-warming the flit of flame
an ornament orange jewels gashing into blues and yellows
Phoenix spreads its wings stretches its snaky neck skyward.
Ashes / renewal / air too thick to breathe Bright eyed the bird
plunges its beak into my heart extracts a sapphire a semiprecious
teardrop cries a note so pure it melts the stone Ash settles
in a halo on your head Ash that as you remove your hat reveals
itself as snow The moan of ice thickening on the lake
wakes me at night with its misery
Note: The phrase “a miser’s rain” was written by the Australian poet Mark Tredinnick in an email to a workshop group he was leading.
Frances Boyle (she/her) is the author of two poetry books, most recently This White Nest (Quattro Books 2019), as well as Seeking Shade, a short story collection (The Porcupine’s Quill, 2020) and Tower, a Rapunzel-infused novella (Fish Gotta Swim Editions, 2018). A Canadian writer who lives in Ottawa. she has published poetry and short fiction throughout North America and in Europe and India. Recent and forthcoming publications include work in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, Blackbird, Literary Mama, Prairie Fire, Sheila-Na-Gig and Minola Review. Please visit www.francesboyle.com and follow @francesboyle 19 on Twitter and Instagram.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.