by Dale Champlin

Published in Issue No. 297 ~ February, 2022

Beyond the glass, wind whips oak leaves,

Rustling, clattering—brackish-green—


you appear in a sliver of light, cold as midnight,

slowly revealed like evening’s first star.


In semi-dark, you are merely a fox shadow—

pointed snout—silver limned whiskers.


Even so, I expect you to crawl into bed beside me,

warm as the stove’s pilot light without the singe


but you hover, flickering sparks over a bonfire.

Are you even here? With your smoke-breath


curling and rising—reminding me of childhood
mysteries—before the hunger of sex. I won’t wait


a moment longer for your comfort. You retreat—

down the stairs, out the door, into the alley


past the rusting junker car, wheel rims

sunk into tall grass. The night plods on.


I flaunt new gloves and a negligée. My widow’

weeds blossom vetch and clarion poppies.


I practice eulogies. You were a mere: a lake, a pond,

an arm of the sea crashing into a rocky shore.


You were a tadpole sprouting legs, a quiet drumroll,

a swell of swallows, your eyes shone


bright as the corona of an eclipse, bright as the clang

of horseshoes ringing on Five-Mile Line Road.


Halogen night floods my bedroom. Palmate leaves

clap, slash, and claw the windowpane.


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Dale Champlin is an Oregon poet with an MFA in fine arts. She is the editor of Verseweavers and director of Conversations With Writers. Dale has published in VoiceCatcher, North Coast Squid, Willawaw Journal, Mojave River Press, The Opiate, and other publications. In November she published her first collection, The Barbie Diaries, with Just a Lark Books.