Stirring : A Literary Collection

Greta Hansen


The sun was dizzy
in red striped suffocating almost
like slow, weeping water,
the tide of the noon breeze
tottering and doubtful --
this kind of day, like after
sitting poolside all afternoon
and falling asleep
on the lawn chair.

When I woke, the day
was still emanating heat
in static fuzz, but
Pocahontas had come to visit,
from nowhere, as nowhere she has
but a shifting place
of loose ties and forgetfulness.
You people sleep a lot,
she said, sucking sugar
from our day-lilies.

We are friends now,
probably because she has
no one else to hang around,
most of her ancestors snubbing her
for heralding genocide,
sweeping black ash pouring
from her bargained blow,
and the British get boring.

So she comes now and then,
appearing near the oak tree,
whistling to me throaty
cricket sounds at night,
and flitting on the tips of grass
like a flame and letting
little birds and bumblebees
weave her hair into spidery
streams against the inhalations
and exhalations
of our modern atmosphere.
Not here or anywhere
is the air her own.

So we nest in my lawn
and sit and talk and
as the sun goes, bleeding
into a distant massacre
and dying further to the West,
Pocahontas describes the fish
like diamonds in the stream,
the gold that melts on leaves
and other things: the traps
and death and deceit
and the trades that life demands,
the trick of leaving them
all behind in a trail
of white, foaming tears.

We sit like that until
the last of the sun's disclosing
heat opens and sways at the lilt
of the panting breeze.
I sit with my hands,
my feet, my eyes set.
I know where I am.
I know where Im going,
and Pocahontas sighs,
restless, limbs like hanging
boughs, back and forth
breathing through the wind
like driftwood dipping,
stretched between two lands
in a dimple of the sea.

Location: Boston, Massachusettes

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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