Clearing the Yard

Detritus. Because truth accrues in

pieces. As in Elise saying, “You’re a stinko,”
then becoming a pink streak

in the grass. I couldn’t handle such guiltless

honesty, the smile would do
me in. I’m in for the payoff, the pileup

of vulnerabilities turned fruit, no more

cuttings left to mold in glass vases, one
less jack to join the file-share. Everything ends,

everything comes out even; a line—and a sum

total. It’s enough to be a box
within oneself, to have a fence

barb-wired and electrified, wholly

treed. Because an open gate is loss
of privacy, I’m keeping tight-

bolted, debuting in full fig.


Blind Feel

Fool with her enough and she’ll unspool,
each wound roll uncurled, snagged and ink-
pooled at the sentence’s end. Cue up the hush
  (You’d nest in
that room, too,
with a winter so
words, the lagging bits that need more
explication. Bring out
the dictionary. A fumbling
with lock and key—finger ballet,
  (She’ll come apart
—cut the twine.)
sweeping over the weave. Braille-coded,
and the brain’s own coils
  (There’s no polite
way to put this.
  —Say it.
  You’d muck her up.)
surrounding the riddle. Fame, not fear,
was the impulse. A saintly
version of wife. Pet bird. Because one
can’t be tied down
  (She’ll wind upward
—called back.)
a devotion without its quirks.
Because it’s enough
to mix the self up in it. Emily in
white, Emily in her own.

Emily Rosko is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford. A recipient of the 2002 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, her work has appeared widely in journals such as The Denver Quarterly, Pleiades, The Beloit Poetry Journal, and Octopus Magazine.