You are about to turn the corner
when you stop to look. Your hand like a surrendering
flag. You don’t know how young you seem
from such a distance, muted by streetlamps.
It’s not that you aren’t a universe
all your own, with valleys of cornflowers
and perpetual water. It’s not that I don’t see
the shadows and lamps that pass behind your eyes,
but I can’t be a home for you. I can’t imagine loving
your knuckles, the spaces behind your ears.
I can’t imagine you passing panther-like
through the dim rooms of my house, hunting me
in the kitchen and finishing me, mouth wet,
in the pantry. Maybe it’s the stiffness of your neck.
I saw someone else in your jaw’s elbow,
and it made me wonder if you could take my sadness
by the hand like a daughter. How young you seem.
You disappear behind a fortress of apartments and walk
up the street. There is only a round bleach-stain of light
where you stood.
ANNIE DORAN was born in coastal South Carolina, left home at sixteen to study writing in Boston, and continued north to Vermont after that. You’ll often see her biking to the waterfront or staring off into the woods from her stoop. The first poem she wrote was about a turtle and she gave it to her fourth grade teacher, who claims to have it in a file to this day. Annie has written many poems since, and she‘s grateful to everyone who reads poems, any poems.