Back to Issue Thirty-Seven

Don’t Go



Autumn reminds us with numb precision
It isn’t safe to love.

Its arias of attrition intone
Our fated anguish.

You reap sings the pungent
Field what you sow.

I swear I was just snipping daffodils, surprising
You with a jar of them on your desk!

Remember that? And when you said you
Loved me more than the green of summer?

Ironies abound. The absconding songbirds
Chitter about chickens coming home.

The morning glories double down,
Trumpeting purple across the trellis.

Why must my grief
Be the gate

You leave through, frozen
Ajar on its ancient hinges?







Before you were born I gave
You the meadow I gave you
The soil the seed and the plough
I gave you a home in my body
A home in my house in my temple
The reverence of people my thin
Tapered ankles I made you immortal

I made you a mirror of everything
Precious I made you a basin of nectar
Ambrosia a bed of narcissus shot
Through with stars later I let you
Unravel and tantrum I let you
Coat your eyes with ash and dye
Your hair a thunderous sunrise

I let you I gave you I held
You I made you but I couldn’t
Save you I couldn’t save you



Missing Song



A violin shut in a case still shelters
Notes no bow may ever find.

The close-mouthed crocus
Shouts its color into a dark core.

Sound found my skin, the sea of blood
Where silver fishes mounted

An orchestral frenzy spelling
Danger. I knew, I knew

When seeds of ice pebbled my neck
And blistered into a hundred little suns.

In my body’s branches the bluebirds blackened
Then scattered into embered ash,

Making flares of the trees until my brain became
A fog of bees so thick I couldn’t see,

Oh, but I knew, I heard. The kindred
Don’t need ears:

The deer in my heart thundered
Into the thicket and disappeared.

Did you hear, then, the tears that dripped
Around your wrist into a crystal bracelet?

Did the little socks and mittens of my singing
Keep you warm?

You must know what I mean even if
You do not know you know: Child,

When you called my name I heard you
Though your cries could find no wind.



Maggie Dietz is the author of the poetry collections That Kind of Happy and Perennial Fall (The University of Chicago Press). The founding director of the Favorite Poem Project, she is Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

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