Issue > Poetry
Laure-Anne Bosselaar

Laure-Anne Bosselaar

Laure-Anne Bosselaar is the author of The Hour Between Dog and Wolf and Small Gods of Grief, which was awarded the Isabella Gardner Prize for Poetry for 2001. Her third poetry collection, A New Hunger, was selected as an ALA Notable Book in 2008. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, she is the editor of four anthologies and, with poet Kurt Brown, translated a book of poems by Flemish poet Herman de Coninck. She taught at Emerson College in Boston, Sarah Lawrence College in New York and at the University of California in Santa Barbara. She is a member of the founding faculty at the Low-Residency MFA Program at Pine Manor College.

Sundowner Wind

           Three days now & the sundowner stubborn: a hot hiss
in the jacaranda. It's in bloom & there is no blue
                       like this one, dusted by drought & dusk
                                                          but flowering all it can—

raising its fists to the other blue up there—sun-fraught,
           contrailed, hazed & exhausted with light, but there,
                                        unfailingly there.
      The streets are empty, but for a mockingbird on a roof, he too
                     doing all he can, singing to the scorched mountains
pockmarked by the Tea Fire.
                                              The sundowner danced with that fire
for days, its flames still a rage in my old friend's eyes:
                       she lost all she had to it. I think of her often, bent over,
sifting pottery shards from her house's ashes & finding
                       solace there. My god: solace—in so little.
Sunset soon.  Cooled, the wind slips out of the tree.
            I thumb the two wedding rings on my finger, have them
                                  do their little dance together.
            Their sound a tiny ring in a stillness
                                                         that quiets almost everything.

All Kindness and Concern

So, how are you? my friends ask—all kindness and concern—
                        heads cocked, eyes locked in mine.  

And, just like that, I'm instantly
                        his again: his wife, his widow: the one

whose name was hyphened to his.
                        And I'm oddly happy to speak about myself,

coupled to him again, finally,
                        and say I'm okay, better, fine but won't say his name

out loud yet because I know I'd throw a shadow over
            the conversation—all kindness and concern—and over

him also, who no longer has a shadow, and is all absence
                       and ash in the ocean nearby.

Light, Alive

And at the end of the morning, when I kneel at the tide's pull,
        it suspends its tug to give me time
                                             to bury my wrists in it.
           The wind knots my hair & fills with godwits & gulls—
they don't trust me, they shriek & flee & soar.

           I remember unknotting my daughter's hair once, &
hurting her, & how she turned around,
                      wide-eyed, to stare at me. She was a frail thing,
           so thin, & buried her face in my belly, weeping.

                        Isn't this what I am now, frail, my head
full of knots, & longing to be held by the ocean?  
                                   Not to drown—no—but to hide in it
for enough time it takes to love to breathe again?

The tide
            recedes, I hear it scrape the sands back
                        into its green graves & wrack. Some days
            waves are clear as a trusting child,

but today they're busy shaking their dark manes of kelp—
                                  so it is time, now, to look
                                                                      up      again.  

To lift my face to the sun. To watch noon
           billow inside a sail, & see
                       nothing but that light—alive—in a sail.


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