An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections
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  • Aftermath

    I think by now it is time for the second cutting.
    I imagine the field, the one above the last

    house we rented, has lain in convalescence
    long enough. The hawk has taken back the air

    above new grass, and the doe again can hide
    her young. I can tell you now I crossed

    that field, weeks before the first pass of the blade
    through grass and briars, fog—the night itself

    to my thighs, my skirt pulled up that high.
    I came to what had been our house and stood outside.

    I saw her in it. She reminded me of me—
    with her hair black and long as mine had been—

    as she moved in and then away from the sharp
    frame the window made of the darkness.

    I confess that last house was the coldest
    I kept. In it, I became formless as fog, crossing

    the walls, formless as your breath it rose
    from your mouth to disappear in the air above you.

    You see, aftermath is easier, opening
    again the wound along its numb scar; it is the sentence

    spoken the second time—truer, perhaps,
    with the blunt edge of a practiced tongue.


    Published in Late Wife (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005).

    Published: 26 October 2009
    © 2009 Claudia Emerson and Southern Spaces