THE WHITMAN ISSUE
They are alive somewhere
in the block of blackness that is trees,
the two foxes whose gold eyes
locked and gleamed as our headlights pried
nothing out of them, who waved off
through a door they opened in the grasses.
We had stopped to look at the stars.
No cloud, no moon, and the world’s
electric dimming three hundred miles away.
We were looking up, your breath stirred
tendrils on my neck, your wet mouth
was atop my head, I was a grass
waving. It was our first night, you
were a stranger. Fragments
of constellations whirled, wildness
cabled down through the woods, you went
into me, I went into you, some kind of light
wheeled as we stood, we were a grass
entered. Black heaven was alive,
had reached us across immeasurable spaces.
And was there as we drove back,
and was waiting all through the days
I did not know how to love you.
You waited, and we grew like grasses.
Rosemary Winslow lives and works in DC (on the same street where Whitman lived for a time), with her husband John, a visual artist. Her work has appeared in 32 Poems, Poet Lore, The Southern Review, Crux, and other journals. She has received the Larry Neal Award for Poetry twice and Writer's Fellowships from the DC Commission for the Arts and The Vermont Studio Center. She teaches literature and writing at The Catholic University of America, specializing in American poetry from 1850 to the present. Her articles on Whitman have included the influence of Egyptology on his work, and Whitman's prosodic practice and influence on the Modernists.
Published in Vol. 6, No. 1, Winter 2004
To read more by this author:
Rosemary Winslow: The Wartime Issue
Rosemary Winslow: Evolving City Issue
Rosemary Winslow: Split This Rock Issue