Cori A. Winrock
How many times can we talk about beds as boats
before the wreck becomes less? Because I know
you not as a lover loves, I know it was me who replaced
your backless gown—let myself let myself see: body. Undressed
you into a men’s crisp work-a-day shirt. You, simple button
down: still filmesque in morning
-after wear. I remember there was no sense
of rush. Embroidering your initials as tight stitches
in the cuffs: black threads to net you
to the woods, to particulars, to this cove
of known trees. I called out the family names
for each of us, whittled a heart into
the burls: reckoned future distances in precision-
planed knots and cross-sections.
How many times can I wreck myself
in the bed of some other before
my own talking will become a boat?
Even as I keep forgetting every thing, I know
it was not me that left
your feet dangling, embedded in wet
leaves—in this not-thaw because before-frost.
Your face was tipped away, already. I remember I held that:
my inherited hand near the bed’s edge. Wrung the sheet’s ends
soaked in mud. Again. How many times?
Each time I stumble into this moment I try to stay
inaudible like I don’t want to
wake you, but this isn’t sleeping. I won’t wake
any moment either. You are simply that—:
I found this clearing. I dressed you. I did not dress you
as when-fall-gets-winter. Instead I prepared the almost
snow for the terrible humming
of spring, then summer. Gave it your frame.
Let the trees grow their years in rings.