All These Open Fields
He sits legs under
a curl of the known
She is wandering
as she speaks
as she finds
which allows itself
to tangle between
his toes. And he is
bouncing his foot
to her story because
he imagines her
in the story
as she tells it
tries to come
to terms. What
terms he does not
know. And she can tell
it makes him
all these open fields
where she is running
but still. She flexes
her wings as though
they had been folded
too long in the cold.
But now that the heat
is upon them both his leg
moves rapidly and her
shoulder blades hold
the beat and she is still
speaking and he refuses
to speak. And the unknown
sits up between them and
relaxes itself as a lazy cat
would across a table
in the heat of the sun
middle of winter when
there is no chance
of kicking him off
simply to set down
a fresh cup of coffee
put your feet up and
enjoy a goddamn
If you were to let your eyes fall
upon black panes of a night window—
to stay—resting there where air swells
soundless. You would be lost.
And so she turns from the window
makes her face open to me now—
Says—I no longer hope for this ache
I turned my body to him
without expectation. Spoke as though
I’d come from the woods—
A single afternoon.
Long between the banks of a river
whose name I’ve never known.
He rose to greet me without rush—no never
a rush in the world for his breath at my neck.
Solid hands each side of my face. She says.
She tells me about the day she lay her body
across his lap and let herself be held close.
Close-pulled-in by a mouth by arms a body
to bring her into herself.
She looks up to my eyes resting openly
upon her mouth mouthing the words—
I have no idea how to have mercy for my own life.
How the fathomless black
remains flat against the glass
is of no consequence
save for our wonder of it.
I gave myself—inexplicably to him.
That winter and all those to follow never mind the risk.
Though I would not set fire to the home I’d built
no matter the torments. Would you? She asks.
Her sweetly softened eyes widen as the deer’s.
Head lifted ears cocked in observance.
A gentle shift of hooves in the undergrowth.
The decades have made her careful—
clever—so very beautiful.
If you were handed your life
loosed of its bridle suddenly
and without remorse?
How long before you could.
Green Leaves Dropped
Out the window from a small
Room where we are all breathing
Willows sway but do not want
More than a willingness to sway.
In the space of a gathered wish we are
All wishing not to suffer. Yet if we knew
What it would mean to move through
We would. We would ask for a firefly’s
Last light. We would ask the growing world
To make its chance for meaning. We would ask
For agony. We would ask for endurance.
You walk the street of your childhood
And say the trees have not greened
As they should. And those that did dropped
Their leaves ‘neath an early frost and did not
Have a chance. And is this what we have now
To look forward to? Is this what is meant
You ask, by changing weather?
There is a world we do not know yet.
There is a world without and we have not
Yet known it. There is a world with everything
And that too we have not known.
Jessica Rigney is a poet, artist, and filmmaker. She is twice a a quarter-finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry (2016 & 18.) Find her letterpress broadsides at Wolverine Farm Publishing. Consume more of her work at Salomé and Cider Press Review. She is poetjess on Instagram.