Cold Work

by Cecily Parks

selected by Li-Young Lee

Self-portrait with field

Wind is seeker when I hide--unfixed,
small-hipped and sere, I am another blade
in disarray, transfixed
by weathering and what it might abrade

of me. I have unnecessaries:
belly fat, a slow way with clothes, a weakness
for bellows and endings. Ending's emissaries
are shy as tigers--I expected nothing less

of happiness; still, I watch what twitches
in orchard margins and under warped floorboards.
I adore our tilting floors and the slim pitch
of stairs you fell down, but I've been home before--

were we to meet like this, I would be stranger
found in a field. Were I loved, I would be braver.


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