Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

Learning to Wait

I want to write an elegy to the edge of shade

in Spanish I almost understand, strange trills and clucks of tongue;


a sestina for the repeating ellipses of branches blown into dance;


a mambo ballad that’s been tuning its chords in twitches

of fingers that don’t pluck a note but know their tone and bend,


like murmuring banks where smiles from far-off tables

rise to meet needles and fall into the wind of a creek.


I want a sonnet for the place between your thighs,

the jeweled quiet there, the margins of that space,

like warmth of a dream you’re just conscious of but haven’t left yet;


I want to hold the line, to say: Here. Stop.


And point to bark of eucalyptus, late fall,

returning to leaves, cracking to speak a last flame of day

in a curling, slow sun, so dry it can only mouth its ending.





“Learning to Wait” was first published in Prairie Schooner, Winter 2004.