THE NIGHT GARDEN
Because everything you learned from the stained
glass windows you knelt under
still remains thorned & stained & torn,
& all the teachings you were expected
to believe still leave you dis-
believing & you wish this were not so,
& because one sparrow’s chirp can pour
gratitude into you like a drought-
dazzling rain, & you’d much rather
kneel for that — & you do,
there’s something appeased in the way you
get up again & brush the dirt
from your knees — that modest
dirt that belongs to no one & is yours so entirely
in this small lot — hedged, hidden,
with its offerings of fruit
& shade & song. So that later,
when evening brumes embrace all
you just praised,
you slip back into the night garden
to be blessed that way too.
I FORGET TO LISTEN
to the silence after the rain —
or to that particular silence,
when the wind
To the silence after a slammed door.
Or telephone’s last
Oh, how I forget to listen to you —
to the silence in you, friend.
I make such noise,
that I can’t hear the silence in you.
ON MY WALK TO THE HOSPITAL, DEATH
There it was,
mired in the mess of syringes
& Styrofoam that the homeless left
under an old, hunchbacked oak.
Death in the fog, all silver
& grisaille as it wreathes
& muffles children in the park.
I saw it
in the needle, deep in the back
of his hand. My love’s.
in his vein.
Death in the still-life
the ward’s window reflected:
an old woman bent over
her husband, her hand on his heart.
I saw it. It faced us —
there, at the foot of the bed
whistling softly through its teeth.
-from These Many Rooms, Four Way Books (2019), selected by POW Spring Guest Editor, Luke Johnson
LAURE-ANNE BOSSELAAR is the author of The Hour Between Dog and Wolf , of Small Gods of Grief, which won the Isabella Gardner Prize for Poetry, and of A New Hunger selected as a Notable Book by the American Library Association. With her husband Kurt Brown, she translated a book by Flemish poet, Herman de Coninck: The Plural of Happiness. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, and the editor of four anthologies, she taught at Emerson College, Sarah Lawrence College, UCSB, and is a member of the core faculty at the Solstice Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program. Her fourth book, These Many Rooms, came out from Four Way Books in 2019.