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Spring/Summer 1998, Volume 15.2



R. T. Smith

R. T. Smith edits
Shenandoah at Washington and Lee University. His books include a collection of stories titled Faith and several collections of poems, including Hunter-Gatherer and Trespasser.


Summer House

Curtains at the kitchen window, lace
symmetrical as the cells of a hive,

and I remember the way shadows
of the scraggly apple tree fell

across the bed, water cold from the well
and a dark map spreading

across the plaster wall beside your
mirror.  "The lost continent," you called

that stain, the house calm, the heavenly
smell from a maze the local

bees had tunneled into the structure,
and at dawn, the restless song

of a working swarm, steady as the stream
under the ailing elm.   That was the extent

of my nature lore, the spreading ichor
of flowers, an essence of forgiveness,

honey oozing dark as a badger
into the foundation.   The the August quarrels

and slow sorrow, the walls softening
to fall, petal by petal.


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