Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview


A story told by a husband to a
husband, that he had been inside
the whole day, and had only opened

the door to grab the paper, get
the mail. A story told by a wife
to a husband, that she saw him

running around the snowy track
when she drove by. A story told
by a mother to a son, that if

he held three pebbles in his hand
and shuffled them as he walked
across the park that his meditation

would bring him peace from his loss.
Gertrude Stein went to museums
to look out the windows,

out the golden frames.
The husband of the husband
was really out in the snow,

crossing a field. He walked
north to south, south to north,
then east to west, west to east.

The wife didn’t leave the house.
She didn’t leave their bed,
lying this way and that on top

of the covers so she wouldn’t
have to remake. The mother
knew that her son wouldn’t find peace

from his loss, but would be better off
in a museum, huddled in a crowd
near an indoor reflecting pool, under

the grid of a latticed window.
If he had gone he could have looked out
into the trees. He would have been

brought to breathe languorously.
Looking through the shrubbery
catalogue one of the husbands—

we aren’t sure which one, the husband
of the husband or the husband
of the wife—sees the worth

of the red twig dogwood, the yellow twig,
so even in the black and the white
the earth has a color in bark.  

return to top