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Drafts, Poetry

Walls

1.
I asked the questions I wish you had asked me,
sitting dim in the back of your favorite dive:
“Does the evening mean the end of the day?” and
“Will you pick up the tab, this time?”

It barely felt indoors, the sweet scent of wet mulch
wafted through an open window; a woman’s hair
streaming, for but a second, across her face.

Here we spoke of your walls. All I could think of
were your soft hands, as if they had never lifted a stone
or tossed a rock into the lake behind your home. “The fieldstones
need to be moved. The addition runs through them”
you said, half-ashamed, over the din of dying conversation.

2.
And then we were there: half-asleep as if early morning, not a word
from my lips and not a sound in your ear
we pitched rock and soil and made way for the machines.

Leaping along boundary stones, the wall
rising to knees between us. And I can only believe
that I must not listen but open ears and eyes
and hands to grasp and shut and blink and borrow
these bits of the earth. For a moment: the sound
of hairpins dropping; for a moment: the smell
of moths drifting toward light. Become walls of stone,
still-sitting in waiting for the day they come to tear us down.

Previous Draft

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