Erin Wilson

Rarity Keeps the Raven at Bay

Couple with a Drawing of a Skull by Andrew Stevovich

I walked down by the river today
where we were so young
in our forties, new together,
that place where one spring
you tipped me against a tree
and drank the sweet sap of blossoms,
the rest of the trails beating their
green wings keeping observers
at bay, or beckoning the brave ones
to hide behind the birches and turn
their eyes to diamonds
with the force of our scene.
Can you believe it, that winter
we walked up the river not
caring to know any better,
tempting the ice to break?
As I walked down today
where the trillium sing in hordes
each springtime, a vitality
flared my veins and light
drew tunnels from my eyes
like halite. Small black plants,
like miniature curled dock
(I will have to learn their name),
dared one full monosyllabic testament
against the winter whiteness.
Equipped with these old
easier times I could hear
and see more clearly,
like before we began to learn
again, in our second lifetime,
the daily nomenclature of deaths
dispensed like blades.

I study the Tao,
I locate the mountain.
I lay my pulled and frenzied
hair down.

I have floundered
uncountable existential miles
while driving
my lot on.

When from the back seat
the ten-year-old child
shrugs off his being bullied
for five long years.

“Meh,” he says. “Karma—
he gets rashes now.”


About the writer:
Erin Wilson has contributed poems to San Pedro River Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, New Madrid, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Mobius, The Journal of Social Change, among others, with work forthcoming from West Texas Literary Review and Split Rock Review. She lives and writes in a small town in northern Ontario.

Image: Couple with a Drawing of a Skull by Andrew Stevovich. oil on unspecified medium. 6 x 7.5 inches. 2011. By free license.