[Record no oiled tongue, diary]

Record no oiled tongue, diary—
Note my lantern bruises the low
Clouds with light the evening
We talked. Almonds in a bowl;
She ate none. I did
Not bid her remove her dark
Gloves as sometime before she had done.
Her dress not so clean as before.
A last brand not rescued to flame—
No billow but breath, and breath
Too short a line to twine
Our hands in marriage: I left
A last time. Her in widow’s silk—
My lantern clothed in morning
Dawns on this road so late tonight
The white birches I believe,
I believe I could have loved
Her, her white wrists
White the birch trees by lantern bared,
Black gloves pulled off at night
Become the night . . . . Do you hear?
That pulse? The deer wander
Between her hands, glean fallen
Seed at hand, bed down in fallen
Needles and grass. Those green discs
Afloat in the night are their eyes
Caught in lantern light. Can it be
So many wake the forest glows
With sight? See and am seen. A pulse
At the stump is breath and rest
And breath again. Infinite
In store the game of this land.
Note the plumage of the turkey.
Note the thick meat at breast.
Sap: syrup. Pine: plank. A copse
Of wood is cord for furnace. A copse
Is cottage, too. The owl in the hollow
Tree screeches because I am too close
To truth. Note the almond
Tree overmuch with fruit. The almond
Pressed is oil sweet. The almond bit
Is a smoky meat that leaves—note it:
The tongue bathed in oil.

Dan Beachy-Quick, “[Record no oiled tongue, diary]” from Mulberry. Copyright © 2006 by Dan Beachy-Quick. Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press.
Source: Mulberry (Tupelo Press, 2006)
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