May 2008

Sara Quinn Rivara


This marks an author's first online publication Sara Quinn Rivara's poems have previously appeared in 32 Poems Magazine and Crab Orchard Review. She holds an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College and lives in Kalamazoo Michigan with her son, Jonah.

Love Charm    

On the table an empty bowl. The garden a funeral
of moths. Cup plant brimming with last night's
rain. Dawn. Lawn laced with frost. A few scraps

of dinner balance on the compost heap: melon.
Lettuce. At the hinge-creak, bright eyed things
scuttle back toward the shadowy edge of the yard

near the pond, the dark heart of every-
thing. The back porch damp. I close the garden
gate. The trail is narrow—gravel, then dirt, then deer-

track. I put my feet in the slender hoof-hollows
of a young doe, and keep walking. The way thick
with burdock, wild chervil. The air full of bull

frog and warbler. Geese southbound. The dogs clamber on
ahead, noses to the ground, dew spangling the soft
underfur of their bellies. Here, the pond opens her mouth

to the stream; a log blistered with frogs; pale mounds
of sweetbread mushrooms bloom. The last trees
in the orchard curve over the trail, sway quietly

in small wind. This is where I buried the charm: a knife, pearl-
handled and flecked with rust, beneath the apple trees. A battered
blade. A sparrow's heart. A weapon to slit love's slender

throat. The dogs circle back, begin to head for home. The orchard
struck with fireblight, only a few bitter windfalls on the ground. So.
The wind's picked up just right: a few leaves scuttle past,

a hatch of flies swarm over the pond. Love shakes
his little rattle in the eastern sky: how slowly I walk
toward the house! The windows are blank, a trail
of smoke from the chimney and a light flicks on in the kitchen where
     my husband waits,
his lips just shaping my name.



Sara Quinn Rivara: Poetry
Copyright ©2008 The Cortland Review Issue 39The Cortland Review