Vox Populi

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Rebecca Weiner Tompkins: Adultery


Because we are outlaws, where you take me this night

the moon has no face, its surface smooth

as the snow shaping the hills and valley

outside the car. We park off a road rarely traveled

this time of year. Dark pines and thin silvery trees

throw shadows on your face lowering to meet mine;

we make love, wrapped in heavy coats,

knees bumping glove box and seatback.

But still we can see each other clearly, moonlight

everywhere, hitting snow, the chrome of fender and door.

From within this blinding whiteness I think

we are as perfect as the landscape that contains us.



Those mornings when we woke together

it was always snowing. The flakes fell thick

and silent to white ground.

That’s the only color I remember: white

smoke between us in dark bars, white flicker

of t.v. in off-season motels, the white knot of our hands

beneath tables, across car seats,

our bodies close and white in the clandestine

places we met all winter.

It’s an old story: two people belonging to others.

New feelings covered us the way

trees weighted with fresh snow become beautiful.

And though we knew the year’s whiteness would disappear,

giving way to spring’s yellows and greens,

we imagined even that difference

as a gift to us from the world. We imagined those colors

withheld till they grew tired of hiding, as we did.

But people aren’t trees waiting for warmer

weather to bring back the shape of leaves and branches.

Only we can change our lives. We need to want, then

do; or else remain like passive objects in landscape:

cold; for a time less cold; and finally, cold again.

From King of the Fireflies (Sensitive Skin, 2018) by Rebecca Weiner Tompkins. Copyright 2018 Rebecca Weiner Tompkins

Tompkins is a poet and violinist who divides her time between New York and Nashville.

Rebecca Weiner Tompkins

One comment on “Rebecca Weiner Tompkins: Adultery

  1. Kris
    March 19, 2022

    Beautiful. People aren’t trees. love this..


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This entry was posted on March 19, 2022 by in Poetry and tagged , , , .

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