Winter in Gold River

Pretty girl. The weather has knocked her down again
and given her to the lake to wear as a skin.
 
Why am I always being the weather?
There were days in the winter
when her smile was so lovely I felt
the breathing of my own goodness,
 
though it remained fetal and separate.
I was a scavenger who survives
 
with a sling and stones, but whose god
nonetheless invents the first small bright bird.
And it was like flight to bring food to her lips
 
with a skeletal hand. But now she will always
be naked and sad. She will be what happens
 
to lake water that is loved and is also
shallow enough. The thickening, the slowing,
the black blood of it, the chest opened
to reveal the inevitable heart attack.
 
God, the silence of the chamber
we watch from. What happens to water
that isn’t loved? It undergoes processes.
 
It freezes beside traffic.
But the reaching out to all sides at once,
the wet closing of what was open?
That is a beautiful woman.
 
So of course I stand and stare, never able
to pinpoint the exact moment I killed her.

Catie Rosemurgy, “Winter in Gold River” from The Stranger Manual. Copyright © 2010 by Catie Rosemurgy. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press, www.graywolfpress.org
Source: The Stranger Manual (Graywolf Press, 2010)