THE SWALLOW DIPS HER WING IN MIDNIGHT POOLS
My swallowchasing on the boardwalk
distresses the swamp, each footfall
reverberating through the pilings
and into the peachbruise-hued water under.
I stop with the swallow
when she fills herself with rest on the dead tree.
I run when she drops.
She dips her wings in her reflection but I cannot.
When I lean my head-and-shoulder silhouette
over the railing, the unsettled swampwater
will not reflect it. Swamp, forgive me for wanting
to touch something that looks like me.
THE HOSPITAL AT THE END OF THE FOREST
Hospital San Carlos, Chiapas, Mexico
The roosters describe all
candlelit night the luck that hoards itself
in baskets of yellow apples and in
the murky foliage of the hospital arbor under
which the mothers gaze through the pane
love glazes between the body and the body
in sickness their breathing a prescription
for the lungs leafing inside the newborn bodies
that cry because of crying
they can be certain as certain as the green ridge
that fires a sunrise in whose light
I love no one harder than the doctor
beside me and though I believe in medicine and in
the unstructured sweetness
of the summer tanagers I most believe
that he and I went through separate
successions of illnesses and orchards to alight
in this hospital at forest-end where mothers
say nothing under the riffling ceiling
of vines wafting their leafing
through the library where a textbook
of extraordinary diseases scares me past
speculation into the inevitable suspicion
that when my body smashes itself to smithereens
and what mind remains bears witness
to the path we broke through our particular trees
there will be confusions
of wings and applelight and though
I’ll not know then what my body moves toward
I’ll know our bodies were here now
in the evenings the roosters make known.
Cecily Parks is author of the poetry collection Field Folly Snow (University of Georgia Press, 2008), a finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award, and is at work on another, O’nights. Her poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, The Kenyon Review, Orion, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere.