No Steps

By Jane Kenyon 1947–1995 Jane Kenyon
The young bull dropped his head and stared.
Only a wispy wire—electrified—kept us
apart. That, and two long rows of asparagus.
An ancient apple tree
blossomed prodigally pink and white.

The muddy path sucked at my shoe,
but I reached the granite step, and knocked
at the rickety porch door.
Deep in the house a dog began to bark.
I had prepared my Heart Fund speech,
and the first word—When—was on my tongue.

I heard no steps—only the breeze
riffling the tender poplar leaves,
and a random, meditative moo
behind me. . . . Relieved, I turned back
to the car, passing once more
under the bull’s judicial eye. . . .
Everything was intact: the canister,
still far too light and mute,
and metal boutonnières where they began—
in a zip-lock plastic sandwich bag.

Jane Kenyon, “No Steps” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by Jane Kenyon. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Collected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2005)

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Poet Jane Kenyon 1947–1995

Subjects Nature, Animals