Her sickness brought me to Connecticut. Mornings I walk the dog: that part of life is intact. Who’s painted, who’s insulated or put siding on, who’s burned the lawn with lime—that’s the news on Ardmore Street. The leaves of the neighbor’s respectable rhododendrons curl under in the cold. He has backed the car through the white nimbus of its exhaust and disappeared for the day. In the hiatus between mayors the city has left leaves in the gutters, and passing cars lift them in maelstroms. We pass the house two doors down, the one with the wildest lights in the neighborhood, an establishment without irony. All summer their putto empties a water jar, their St. Francis feeds the birds. Now it’s angels, festoons, waist-high candles, and swans pulling sleighs. Two hundred miles north I’d let the dog run among birches and the black shade of pines. I miss the hills, the woods and stony streams, where the swish of jacket sleeves against my sides seems loud, and a crow caws sleepily at dawn. By now the streams must run under a skin of ice, white air-bubbles passing erratically, like blood cells through a vein. Soon the mail, forwarded, will begin to reach me here.
- Mark Olival-Bartley
- Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson’s sonnets for his dissertation at Amerika Institut of LMU Munich, where also he edits a poetry weekly. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor of Review of International American Studies.
Christmas Away from Home
by Jane Kenyon