Poem by Lorraine Rumson Digital Illustration by Bryn Riihimaki
The sky cracks open, and the eastern air Comes pouring in like water from a spring. I welcome it. I grow up tall like grass And stretch my arms across the firewood To draw a drop of February sun. Your shadow in the distance gives me pause.
Between the trees, across the bank, you pause, Look back on me, and something in the air Turns summer. Look across, the easing sun Has made it easy for me, now, in spring, To jump the creek. I leave your home-safe wood And leave my foot-marks in the peeping grass.
I follow you; each muffled blade of grass Protects me from your wife, who might me pause To see me leave behind my work: bread, wood, And other mundane daily work. The air Lifts back a curl threatening to spring And make me indecent beneath the sun.
“Where are you going?” Buck moth in the sun, You flit away. I follow through the grass, Up higher than my waist. I hear the spring Disturb your crossing, so I do not pause But feel your presence closer in the air. Until, when we are sheltered in the wood,
You come clear, leaning, hand upon the wood, Your back to me. You’re blotted from the sun With heavy uncut branches, heavy air, And heavy silence, broken by the grass That rustles all around me, and I pause With one foot on each border of the spring.
“Come closer, dear thing.” So I cross the spring, I grip the tree beside you, feel the wood, Warm underneath my hand; the pause Unbroken. Your eyes look darker in the sun. We are alone. No rustle in the grass. No village, nothing; you, me, and the air.
The pause will leave me face-first in the spring. You turn to air, and I’m left in the wood, With your trees, and the sunlight on the grass.