“and even you forgot those brilliant flashes seen from afar” -Ruth Stone

Megan Buchanan

The Now-Life and the Next

                                  after N. Scott Momaday

I am the striped wasp trapped in your dress

smooth leather reins slipping out of your hands

the lustre of golden birchbark even in the dark

a snag of soft wool caught on barbed wire

a fast splash of road salt on the ice-covered stream

the coral of the cardinal’s beak

scent of lemonskin from back-porch terracotta pots

the breath of the tree and the scream of the chainsaw

the turtle’s track across the muddy road

I am the coat left hanging in the hawthorn tree

UNLIKE (me)

Took the last can of seltzer

Took the best painting

No one will ever know

 

Even in paradise

this safe distanced spot

edge of the everyblue ocean

we hunker down, grieve

apply bandages

are misunderstood, weep

squeeze the splinter out


So stressed that even

salt droplets brushed by wind

on my bare shoulder

make me wince


Walk past the trash

stare down the security camera


Mosquito, tick

poison ivy tendrils thrive

in the rocks, coronavirus

floats through the village

and even goddamned Ghislane Maxwell

hid out here awhile

in this very pine grove

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Megan Buchanan’s poetry collection Clothesline Religion (Green Writers Press, 2017) was nominated for the 2018 Vermont Book Award. Her poems have appeared in The Sun Magazine, make/shift, A Woman’s Thing, as well as in many other journals and numerous anthologies. Read more

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