Unknown Quantities of Desire

       Not that she hasn’t felt the ravages of time.
Who could read the news without despair

       over humanity, inhumanity. The long field
down to the river (black even in summer)

       shudders in the wind; the grass whips
this way and that, the green’s mocking

repeated by the wind. She hikes up her skirt

       for the descent, knots it at her waist.
At home, years ago, the daughter would still be sleeping.

       Would wake at noon, yawn, want something
no one could possibly give. And the lover

       would be at her, texting, calling, a dozen messages
an hour. So go to him, she’d long to tell her.

       Get out of my hair. Then remembering
how pain would flood her like grief

       from the old story, the one she read over and over
as a girl, thinking there must be more to it

       than a way to explain the seasons, there must be
more to it than that, some message lost

       until it starts happening to you and then
it doesn’t seem like a message at all, it seems like

       life, where the heart stays hidden
with its blood, its monstrous

       desires... At the river bank now. More crows
in the river birches, the elms, the mountain oaks.

       She squints up the long field to where the daughter
once lay sleeping. The slope is too steep to see

       anything but the crest, the horizon. All those days
she woke wanting something, her mother

       watching her longing, so much
what she should not have passed on

       yet had passed on, as if want were more
than anyone alone could bear.

Lynne Knight | Comparative Solace
Mudlark Contents | Mudlark Chap No. 66 (2018)