Daughters tell lies. We are lovelier
this way. So I say: the snow sprawls
softly in the morning. And my mother
believes me. Ice the color of robin eggs
in the right light. Yes, the trails are nice,
the woods angled out to the river. A buck
treads quietly through the cemetery, his
eyes locked on a single grave. The usual
questions: are you warm enough, are you
writing? And the answers: yes, yes, fine,
and fine. Do you hear the river, Mother?
It surges even under all that weight.
Is the moon brighter there? she asks.
But I stop here—the moon is no beacon.
The night’s a mug shot, and the tub is full.
I relive the man, the man, the man, how he
held onto me in Ohio, how he sowed me
through and through. I am warm only here,
searing my skin in bathwater, the radiator
my only witness. Do you hear the water,
Mother? She talks of spring, how the wild-
flowers will soon burst from under the grip.
O, the rock nettle! O, the evening primrose!
Yes, here, too. Though the ice grows thicker
on the river and the bluebirds are buried
deep in the snow.