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Did you always have horses? No, sometimes you had sheep.
Around you, now falling, the thin-walled buildings
your family, your father, his brothers, worked to raise.
Rooms belonged to one person, and then another.
What can I know? I tell you, it was another
romance to climb into those rooms, your old room —
hats, hats, hats and fallen plaster,
rooms where you dreamed and lay sick, a far room
where you slept off the war, sunk
in the sweet, girlish bed of your two married sisters.
Always and then another romance, another
farmhouse party, always your friends, always
your brothers, always music roaming
after them, always the sun failed again
for the evening, and the short grass fell dull
in the shadows, out of the slant-light.
I look down to accuse my hand — where
were you then? stretched no in glory
over the brown arm, over the deep,
shadowy sill. So, some breeze wakes us now.
No curtains, you remark. You complain at my house.
My house is no better than your house.
Starry sky to starry sky, tell me, what can I know?
That you are thinking to do about it! —great, wide
hand who gives, who neither cuts nor sews, hand
who reeks, I am a man, woman, save me.
Copyright 2021 Mary Jane White
Mary Jane White is an attorney and poet. Her new collection of poems Dragonfly. Toad. Moon. will be released in April 2022 from Press 53.