22 October 2009

Elizabeth Carothers Herron

[from Elizabeth Carothers Herron's In the Pockets of the Night, 1994]


Bring your ladder. We'll set up a sky,
a mountain in the house. Blue rain
will water the shag rug. Moonlight will spill
and slant through the window
so the bed is milk-white and warm and wet
and I'll have to swim in the covers
sleeping a dream of rainbow and steelhead
spawning. I'll hear the last

of summer whisper holy and familiar names:
coyote bush, sticky monkey flower,
gravenstein, blackberry,
salmon berry, tarweed, quince.
And behind the wind
the warm breath of Indian Summer
autumn on her heels, will puff a haze
of golden heat over the swimming bed, the soaked

shag. Whispers of zucchini squash and roses,
liquid amber turning her leaves with a sweet shudder
Whispers of longer nights and last fling holidays.
Whispers of blacktail buck huffing
around elusive does, and squirrels
stashing the seeds of cones high
in winter hollows. All this
when you cut out the wall and wait
before you put the window in! Your legs
will be rubbery with the rush of it,
the flood of it, the swell and sigh of what
we hardly hear inside. All this, if you
take your big saw and your hammer,
your catspaw and wedge, up the ladder
into my room.