My blood was wise, my arms were weak, I was
a vessel from the inside. I could speak
alone, as if to water, that spoke back
beside me with no language, never stopped
to hear me, but continued, dark on black,
and if I'd been that way, I would not have stopped.
Two merciless companions, we were clocked
on our own time, as "water" and "free clock."
If it bit me, it bit me with the cold
and I ignored it--I bit back. So cold.
We have no hard companions. We are old
and warm as wild flowers, touch no ice,
have just a toe for one gold-rippled shallow,
and never make our conversations count
against the time that clocks me since I lost.
Annie Finch is the author of five books of poetry, including The Encyclopedia of Scotland, Eve, Calendars, just re-released with a CD by Tupelo, and Among the Goddesses: An Epic and Libretto (Red Hen). She has also written or edited ten books about poetry, most recently A Poet's Ear and A Poet's Craft. She lives in Maine where she directs the Stonecoast low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. Her website is at www.AnnieFinch.com.