An unreliable love story

How you went skiing at midnight, out across the river,
your breath gulping at the shallow, sharp air of the full wolf moon.

And how I heard the ice breaking the next day,
out on the Chenango by our little apartment with all the windows.

The water booming and roaring, wrenching trees, trash, the entire side of a house,
flooding our dreams with a howling urgency.

Ice-to-water-to sea.

And how you held me tight and wouldn’t cry when they airlifted
our newborn son to the Mass General Intensive Care Unit.

Our love bound up that night in a tangle of tubes and monitors,
a six pound body so intimately engaged in grasping its own measure of life.

And there was nothing left in that room but a snapshot of a naked baby,
my tears tracing rivers down your shirt front.


And how your skis shushed a path across the ice-bound night,
laying a double track between each rasping breath.

And how I rocked and rocked and rocked when we finally brought our baby home,
an angry line of red-black stitches plotting course across his moon-soft belly.



An Exhibition of Water

The Universe lingers;
I bow my head.
Enso by Ranzen Shoryu

At the museum, North Wing,
the artist has taken water,
cupped it in his hands, he stands
before white, before his camera,
and lets it fly, a flourish of launched droplets

captured;  this water that must have spent
lifetimes in a still trout pool, or in the wild
summer clouds, or in the sullen ice turning
to mist on a gray March morning, now twisting,
swirling with the strength and subtlety
of a ballerina, now

mine;  to view, to spend all day staring at,
to trace each spectral finger and flash,
each motion flung full power open,
while the other Galleries sit unexplored,
the cafeteria empties, the docents
make small throat noises as they bow
their heads towards their watches.
Janet Barry