At the Artists' Colony
Drought. The grasses whipping
the blood red briars
latent and sapless, chidden,
I came into the field
away from the others
I walked with a painter
down the dry road
kicking up pebbles.
The wild turkeys flushed so suddenly
I was glad
to have started them
and to watch, nothing more,
as they took to the trees
to pay no attention to me.
Here, I give you
the thin blue river
visible at her temple.
Maybe I'm no one anymore than anyone is someone
if only for someone else's sake.
Why is it impossible to say what the sound of cicadas is,
sometimes a zillion castanets, sometimes derision
and mimicry, what a river of bones
might say if it ran like water.
Summer. What to make of the heat? Life
stricken. Even the petunias shrivel,
they begin to look like old popes,
and wither like those papery squash blossoms.
There is no one to undress and I feel oddly
famished by that. Perhaps this autumn
under her sweater a woman's heat
will be revealed to me. If it be
Steven Schreiner teaches at University of Missouri—St. Louis. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cardinal Points, Gulf Coast, River Styx, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere. He is the author of Too Soon To Leave, and the founding editor of Natural Bridge, a journal of contemporary literature.