Individual Voices / Natural Forms

Winter, 2006

Louise Nayer


this is not what you dreamt for me.
I am scared of this route
into the heart.

I walk on the ice
listen to water burn my feet
cold as your stoic throat
that tightens before you sigh.

I was November in your body,
Do you see how my leaves change color?

I am scared of the scars
on your face and hands.
They are real below the eyes.

You blush them away in a field of poppies.

Do you know that I still say
the Lord's Prayer at night--
It is faithful, this prayer.

The sheep run too quickly.
I cannot count them.
They will not unseal my lips.

How can I tell you
I am afraid,
that the bronze girl
playing tennis in the New Hampshire woods
is scared of the tall pines,
that the wind is a knife.

I crash into trees with the speed of a sinner
and tempt the raw bark.
This darkness is also my home.

My skin is light,
my eyes are dark ravens.
Mother, I revolve in these woods,
this delicate Chinese lithograph
and dream of the conventional,
the uninterrupted.

And someday I will see you cry.
The water will flow from your eyes
and you will see
me, your daughter.

I will not drown.
You can collapse on me.