Bonnie Auslander

To Miss Eyre

At noon we looked past
the hedges of dappled light and saw

a wedding dress
travelling from the pocket

of your cloak. All toy
loveliness, apple blossoms

stormed the path,
clutches of white

nippled by pink.
You, our bigger likeness,

our greater equal,
your words loomed us

to the backs of chairs
while tiny white mushrooms

with eyes of dahlias
opened at our feet.

You were the first to explain
love is not just wild strawberries

cradled in the elbow of the sun.
Love is also the scrape of pebbles

under the garden bench.
It’s the blast of an early winter storm

pitting the faces and hands
of the unhatted and ungloved.

And life is a hundred country walks
without purpose or direction

yet each one absolutely necessary.
Who taught you that?

Let us buy your bolts
of Quaker grey and black,

shades that reproach the harlot-makers.
Let us answer when he asks

how you learned to paint the wind.
Take us with you when you go out

to mail a letter.
We will be your paper.

We will be your pocket.
We will be the drop of crimson

ready for your seal.

Bonnie Auslander is a poet and essayist from Washington, D.C., whose poems have appeared in Field, Open Letters, Gargoyle, Beltway Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Her radio commentaries have aired on public radio’s environmental news magazine Living On Earth and Washington D.C.’s Metro Connection. She has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Millay Colony; her residencies at VCCA France and at the Chateau de la Napoule near Cannes resulted in some OK poems but mostly served to deepen her rapturous attachment to mocha eclairs.

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