blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



The Hayfield Chandelier

     (reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press)

Two women comb their hair in separate rooms
of separate houses in the dark of a single night
on earth and one is my mother and the other
is her friend and this sentence is like a road
built for them to travel when they can or want

to travel out of loneliness at the end of the day
and meet and talk about whatever exactly it is
that my mother and her friend talk about now—
two figures in nightgowns in a hayfield sitting
at a table drinking coffee—and if you will, notice

how the bright September stars hang over them
swaying out like a chandelier and notice how
the road runs beside them like a kind of river
and the other few passengers of this sentence
do not disturb the peace but move on, quietly,

slowly, with their own business and some carry
yellow sacks on their backs and lean burdened
a little by their own moving and some will stop
to look up into the changing arms of maples
to see, maybe, the silhouette of an owl suddenly

leap silently in the night air but for the most part
the road is untraveled and the deep starlight
sways gently and casts just enough good light
for my mother and her friend to see each other
very clearly and a long time passes and laughter

carries to some of the houses along the road
and the laughter is rather loud someone thinks
closing his starry window and climbing back
to bed to sleep and the chairs in the hayfield
beside the road that my mother and her friend

lean back in as they talk are made of carved
Dominican mahogany and I don't know how
any of this ever happens—the language of long
friendship and the roads we travel at night, but
they do—these two. They are talking all night.  

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