Codetta (or Collision)

Eve Alexandra

You were not as I had imagined the ones that came before—the poems in which I conjured you, dreaming darling girl, stunned sister. You flew at me like a kiss, a hard slap upon the hood of my car. Behind the wheel, I could see the soft curl of white on your belly, the slit of your sex, the coal of hooves, so close, for a second, as if you were nursing at my breast. Then you were off, leaping defiantly. I’m now the one on the highway shaking, the cars speeding by. My skirt flying up in the wind and you, wild thing, are not my metaphor. But this doesn’t stop me from following you into the switchgrass and sweet clover, the thousand little tongues of lupine tasting. Who needs taxonomy? We are all invasive and beautiful. We are too may. Look for the tender birches, for blackberries. The cornstalks crushed, soft as linen. They are gathering. The does and their fawns. I see now you are younger than my own daughter. And you are bleeding. If I take off my shoes and shed my dress, may I lay down beside you? What do I have to offer, but my skin and hair to poultice you? I mean to do penance. It’s your world now, but I have loved you it’s true and apprenticed from afar. I understand the wound, how it calls to you. It asks to breathe, and it is a kind of song that can’t help singing. You’ve read the poems. You’ve known all along. I too have bolted when I shouldn’t have, thrown myself in front of a car.

 

Art by Maggie Nowinski.

Eve Alexandra’s book, THE DROWNED GIRL, was selected for the Wick Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The HarvardReview, Green Mountains Review, Narrative, and Barrow Street. She teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Vermont, where she directs the Integrated Fine Arts Program.