Poetry: “The Whole Sky Rises Up” by Linda Swanberg

one winter alone in your little cabin

you worked meticulously on model ships

fingers looped thread after thread—tied tiny knots

 

made sails: red silk sails

blue sails the color of cornflower

stiff white sails cut from a sheet, glued, and dried

 

from each deck you positioned cannons—

stealth down to the least detail

the mind of war…

 

all that was long ago

 

today no boat streams across a calm Point Caroline Bay,

but explosions in the surge and swell of choppy waters

still interrupt my sleep

 

who can say when our words

will fall back upon us

like a wounded animal’s last breath?

 

old lover, it is the deadlock hour—night closes in—

you are far from me, and I am old

I winter slowly—measure every step

 

when in dreams I meet your face

(pale blue eyes)

I find not love, but death

 


Linda Swanberg received her masters from the University of Montana. She now studies with Tobin Simon, co-director of the Proprioceptive Writing Center in Oakland, CA, and has studied with Richard Hugo and Madeline DeFrees. A lifelong resident of Montana, she lives in Missoula with my husband, Gregg, and tends a large shade garden. She is also a pianist and beginning cellist.

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