Wrens Hidden in Paisley


poem by Genevieve Burger-Weiser


Endings offend me.

Mint grew in the soil-filled rain gutters.
We bit from the same leaf.

During my thankless devotion

to the idea of you
I imagine the first red.

Take the process of drying:
need misstep, as in cellar, must, root-gnarl,
and hours and hours.

What day does the tree complete its yellowing?

A father tells his daughter to wear snowboots
and she survives a holocaust.
This is not my invention.

I watched my parents
resuscitate a man.

But I have not learned.

I want an alder-wood house
planked to a snowed mountain ridge.

I want sustenance of skins,
eureka— the way another orbit
is always beginning.

And the congregants intone
for the sin of forgetting the forests…

It might be easier to believe
than to believe in another person.

You exhaust me.
Give me something I can hold— scarab,
glass eye, an intricate knot.

I think of thin sounds,
flies skimming the rice-waters.

Up to the knees, sore-backed, prune-fingered,
the harvest goes on.

Say one clear thing to me.