The sudden appearance of moths, their urgent tickertape soft insistence
up the window. Quiet while the children slept, the night we lost
power. Candle flicker against blue dusk recalls the Amish of my childhood--
people who made the choice to live without man-made light.
Their horses summon blades through the earth in the hum
of a false thaw. Once, I understood the depth of their forgiveness.
Before I had my own children. Every day in my fickle winter house
someone shouts for the weather and the computer never fails
to tell us. We call her by name and my son has drawn her face
freckled. What he doesn’t know: only the sun can do that. And only the skin
of the living will change for it. I carve into the apple’s green globe
and note its constellations. It should carry the scent of another country but doesn’t.
I’ll admit, I thought we’d have forever at least in these bodies. I truly did.
Ask the moon that hung over you and me, our feet in a river in a Carolina winter.
The whole family of us invisible, hovering. Or maybe it was
that old house on the Cape where we woke to an April blizzard, miniature icebergs on the beach
and the wind between rafters-- not like old age but like laughter.
Mary Kovaleski Byrnes is the author of So Long the Sky (Platypus Press, 2018). Her work appears in Guernica, Salamander, PANK Magazine, Best of the Net, and elsewhere. She teaches writing at Emerson College where she co-runs the EmersonWRITES program, a free creative writing program for Boston Public School Students.