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Elegy with Due Date

 

The river is not a road so is an invitation

for the mind to roam the spaces between

 

cities where mines still pine like bulbs

for a springtime-worth of weight.

 

Don’t all seeds long to blossom

their coiled code? Even the dead

 

don’t know how to stay

closed, worming as they do, rooting

 

as they do. Leafing new

into the same sweet light.

 

The river reveals nothing

of where things vanish to,

 

only the ghost-pool

of my own gaze.

 

This date knives

right through, passes

 

like any other day. My body changes,

but less vividly. I can only call it healing.

 

I can only heal, as the battlefields

this river feeds do, scabbing green

 

over the soldier graves, the child graves,

there is nothing it can’t stomach

 

into fuel. It should be easy to stomach

loss the size of a walnut,

 

an apricot, when there are more atoms

in my body than stars

 

in the known universe. I don’t know

if we are the reflection

 

or if God refracts nightly into stars

to shame us. Either way, we’re mostly space

 

and survival. We can only stay dead

a little while, before green muscles in

 

to wake us.

 
 
 

Erin Rodoni is the author of Body, in Good Light (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2017) and A Landscape for Loss, which won the 2016 Stevens Manuscript Prize sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies and is forthcoming later this year. Her work has appeared in Colorado Review, Cimarron Review, Drunken Boat, Ninth Letter, Spoon River Poetry Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and The Adroit Journal, among others. Her poems have also been included in the Best New Poets anthology, featured on Verse Daily, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and honored with an Intro Journals Award from the Association of Writers and Writing programs. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two young daughters.