(Reprinted with the kind permission of the author.)
The Friar tells her, drink this
potion and for a time you will be
as dead. What? she says,
Are you kidding? Only the earth
knows that faith. But this love is of the earth,
so when she sleeps, it's in darkness,
a round weight curled in a papery shroud.
This fall, digging little graves, I can smell
winter approaching like the war
that already rages, not with drumbeats and shots
but more ominously silent, a great lack
of lucidity and grace. Too soon,
deaths have begun:
fruit clipped by frost, a bird limp
by the mailbox in the morning, the flaming
leaves—don't be distracted; we're blighting
landscapes one by one.
It's hard to believe
that everything resurrects itself in time
some things with more reliability than others.
So is a rooted bulb a record
of a promise kept through winter. This is the truth we only half
believe: that each hoary, twinned sprout becomes,
in the moment before she sees him,
Juliet, waking to a clasp of arms,
yellow trumpets crying.
* * * * * * * * * *
Charlotte Boulay's poems have been published in The Boston Review, Phoebe, Cyphers & The Beloit Poetry Journal. She has worked as a labor organizer, a technical writer & has taught English in India. She currently teaches in the English department at the University of Michigan.
Photo Collage by J. Sherry