First Love

This reading was recorded by Alessandro Mistrorigo at Phonodia LAB in Venice, Italy, on the 11th of July, 2015.

Read by Taije Silverman on 11 July 2015

First Love

In this poem there will be no dreaming of spiders.
In this poem there will be no light snow.
It wasn’t winter, winter had been cut to shreds
and fed to wolves, they had devoured winter.

There will be no back yards,
nothing will be kept by fence in this poem,
there will be no windows to see the light snow
in the back yard, sudden, without question
although there would never be winter again.
Do you hear me? Never.

In this poem no small hands no cold hands. Don’t ask me.
My hands are not cold your hands are not small.
There will be no green cowboy boots in this poem.
You never walked beside me you never smiled no.
There won’t be poetry you won’t read to me.
There won’t be beautiful in this poem.
It was taken on the train with winter. Yes, on the train.
Though there are no trains in this poem and no girls.
No cowboy boots, no rolling windows, the tenements
won’t flash blood color through the long afternoons
behind laundry the trees won’t shake
the fields will not shine and wait in this poem, no girls.

There will be no letters. The mailbox is being held
without ransom, the white door hangs open all day
on the loose street where winter will never arrive.
Your handwriting will never arrive,
not my name made real by it, no.

There won’t be a kiss.
No reeds in the marshland and was it cold, I don’t remember.
We won’t walk back. There will be no lemon tea, steeped
too long, we pour it down the sink, the cold tea
is dark and strong, my body is being held without ransom.
No not in this poem. There will be no Nina Simone, songs
will not enter songs will not break.
No bedrooms, no postcards on the walls no tulip petals dropping.
There will be no waiting in this poem. There will not be waiting.

Winter is lost forever here, the kidnapped mailbox
long forgotten. The train
is an idea, like the moon. My heart,
searching the street those hours for your tan car,
is a fingernail. Is a hard, shiny, small thing.

from Houses Are Fields (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2009).

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