House on the Bluff

In winter you strapped the canoe
to the basement ceiling,

every rib written in silt.
Every year the huge lake froze,

ice figures clawed
and covered the pier.

Even in summer we shivered with cold,
my two brothers and I,

the lake growing inside us,
farther from your shore.

 

The Dark Sky

The sky has no memory
for phone numbers,
not the jingle
nor those dim, papered rooms.

So many stars,
so many oars dipping down,
it’s impossible to compare
the universe to oneself.

I have avoided the name of God
as if I were an instrument
that chilled, calibrating
murmur and sound of water.

Bravura threads itself between
my teeth. I love the yearning,
and what is love
hurrying us to a house of clouds?

Air full of salt—
I guess we’ve evaporated.
We lie down on a palette made from decades.
I shouldn’t touch and fear

you—a knife that pierces
the frost with breath.

 

Unfastened

Father, no matter where I lived you sent flowers
to mark the day I was born.

In Munich they arrived without a card.
The man who rented me a room took them,

hoping they were from his father
who’d abandoned him long ago.

I knew they were for me.
It was cold and gray and I needed

the red and blue anemones.
Those years irony meant nothing to me

as I traveled from one country to another,
searching for a pear tree—

glimpsed from a train—
supported by ladders.

 

Abigail Wender’s articles and poems have been published in Guernica Magazine, Mead Magazine, Epiphany Literary Journal, and other reviews. A finalist at the Frost Place 2013 Chapbook Contest, she holds an MFA degree from the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers and lives in New York City.

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