The loose step at the bottom
has rotted through, saturated
with winter rains. Now propped
on bricks, wedged into dirt,
not worth repair because
the whole damn porch has gone
to hell and I’m taking the long view
on total collapse. The house
is a bucket of wounds and ruin.
I’m gambling on which of us goes first.
But the tulips are bold this year,
all scarlet stripes and blood reds.
And the pear tree still fills
with milky blooms even though
I hacked the branches that were reaching
like tentacles toward the wires,
averting one more domestic disaster
that could have spelled the end,
and given the high sign to the wrecking ball.
Wasn’t the cool shell of my belly
a place of sweet repose? Did I dream that?
Wasn’t there tenderness in the way our feet
barely touched in sleep?
Time turns odd, stretching like elastic
only to snap back, quick, with a sting.
I don’t know if I’m waiting for dusk
or slipping into the seams of the hours.
I hold fast to the harbor we once made,
muscle and bone entwined, breath
rivering our skin. This remains,
in the strange ways grief grows old:
I felt safe and tethered to the world.
Mercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Natural Bridge, Nimrod, Poetry, and Prairie Schooner. She has also published two chapbooks, most recently Happy Darkness, short fiction, essays, and stories and poems for children.