Marianne Boruch
Lent

The second week of Lent I walked

under crows fine in their

calamity, the wide dark wings, the heavy

rusted hinge in their throats.

I heard them once,

twice, too many times. They were a cloud

of bad hooks coming down, complaining.

The path lay ahead and went up,

mostly mud, but water

moved quick under ice, the sound

of anyone crying, then door after door

closing against it. So the light

gauzed over early, from 4 o'clock on.

Lent because of that, or because

of the branches, still spiny and bare.

Into the old leaves of summer I read

oak and black willow pressed

into the furrows, the half-frozen bootprints.

Lent because I kept walking, or because

I hadn't slept. 

 

 Always, one is told things
after a death: the woods
will give way to a field, or grief
has its own sweetness, or
she will come to you in a dream
if you ask. But it was all thicket
where I walked, one woodpecker
circling and circling the same
dead tree, probing and listening.
He never left the high wood.
Finally is a word like stone, like
water. Or opening like water and closing
like stone. And finally the woods
opened to a field. I saw
a family there
before distance swallowed the,.
I saw their bright coats
get smaller, the children
lagging behind the mother
turning back to them and speaking.
 
It's lent, I told myself, as if
this were a reason. For a long time
I watched for larks in the half-light
where tall grass
was bent and tousled like the hair
of a child after sleep.
Love is a wheel and a weight. Once
I slept perfectly, not knowing.
Found In Volume 25, No. 03
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Marianne Boruch
About the Author

Marianne Boruch’s eighth poetry collection—Cadaver, Speak—was published this spring by Copper Canyon Press which brought out The Book of Hours, last year’s Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award winner. Her memoir is The Glimpse Traveler, (Indiana, 2011). She teaches in Purdue University’s MFA program, and in the low residency Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.