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.