The 2River View 22.3 (Spring 2018)

Rebecca Starks

For Sappho

In the woods, the stillness. The hush
of everything hanging: heavy, humid,
the tickle of sweat. Helices of gnats
mating with motes of light.

There—you see that isolate leaf
oscillating drunkenly

            like a little mask of Bacchus
            in Catullus’ courtyard

prick for the first drop of rain,
hand raised eagerly—
so sure it has the answer
            the rest huddle waiting for?

But it is like that:

out of all the leaves the beech hosts
one is seized by love—and

cannot, cannot,
stop its wingless trembling.  

How a Mother Loves

When their dog disappeared out back, last May, fifteen years after they’d brought him home, she looked until she found him, down the hill and under some hemlocks where he’d lain down to die, the way animals do—she says she knew that’s what he was doing—and though he was too big for her to lift and she had no cartilage in the joint of one hip she got him up the hill too steep to mow and into the house to his spot by the door and he lived there another week and a half, with her lifting him up with a towel each morning and hugging him to sleep at night, since he could neither stand nor lie down, nor remember what to let go of, to fall asleep.

Rebecca Starks is a co-founder of Mud Season Review, a director of the Burlington Writers Workshop, a freelance editor, and a teacher of lifelong learning at the University of Vermont. Her poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Rattle, Slice, Stonecoast Review, and elsewhere.

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