Country Love Song

By Melanie Almeder Melanie Almeder
I try to think of the cup of a hand,   
of legs in a tangle, and not the thistle   

though even it, purpled, spiking away,   
wants to be admired, wants to say, whistle   

a little for me. O every little thing wants
to be loved, wants to be marked by the cry   

that brings desire to it, even blue-eyed fly   
to the bloated hiss of death. To love is to be remiss:   

the horse alone in the wide flat field nods
its head as if the bridle and bit were missed   

or mocked; the cow slung with the unmilked weight   
of her tremendous teats shoots a look back over her shoulder   

at O lonesome me. I want to say to her need                  
as if crooning could be enough,   

sweet, sweet mama . . . truth be told,   
the thousand lisping bees to the milkweeds' honey   

terrifies me. When the stink of slurry season   
is over and the greened fields are slathered, fecund,   

overtall foxgloves tip with the weight of their fruit.   
Then I dream a little dream of you   

and me, curled like two grubs on the top of a leaf   
wind-driven and scudding along the lake's surface.   

All night we glide to its blue harbor   
and back again. The fattened slack of us   

singing O darlin' darlin'   darlin'.

Source: Poetry (March 2004).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2004 issue of Poetry magazine

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March 2004


Melanie Almeder teaches creative writing and contemporary literature at Roanoke College. Her work appears widely.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Relationships, Love, The Body, Romantic Love, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

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