by SHEILA BLACK
Needless to say, I am still plumping
for the orange tree to come back,
even though its thin dead twigs, frozen
in our unexpected polar-vortex freeze
seem to promise otherwise. I’m still
convinced I will run into you
along the Riverwalk or under the oaks
and we will be able to pick up
the thread as if it never broke. I’m still
holding out hope that my husband’s
cloud of pessimism will abruptly lift,
and he will bring me lilies, armfuls of them
for the Easter that never was in which
we all rise up as out of our graves to live
doubly so. I’m telling you—him—come out
here. Look at the train tracks and the
tender shape of the yellow dog who has
lived here wild but begging when she
needs to—longer than us even. Look at
the cardinals, the pair of them, how they
scoot a little impatiently from branch
to wire fence and back. Do you think
they are arguing over whether to stay—
why this yard and not the one next door.
Do you think, like us, they have learned
to love our mutilated mountain laurel,
half-dead bougainvillea, this mighty
orange tree, now a ghost, which year
after year managed, despite its diminutive
size, to yield so many, such oranges?
My husband has his eyes to the binoculars.
He is telling me he heard owls again
last night. Sometimes we feel as distant
as continents but really we are like the
ocean beneath, full of large animals sending
signals across cold blue waters.
From Issue 7
SHEILA BLACK is the author most recently of a chapbook All the Sleep in the World (Alabrava Press, 2021) Her fifth collection, Radium Dream, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. Poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Kenyon Review Online, the New York Times, and elsewhere. She works for AWP and lives in San Antonio, Texas. She is a co-founder of Zoeglossia, a new non-profit to build community for poets with disabilities.