Tuesday Poem

Next Morning Letter

Savoring each summer moment Beauty Writing a Letter
lush and brief
I close my
eyes to see

your white robe, falling open

as you call for your scroll
and ink stone, a brush

As your brush passes over the paper

my body shivers

How closely now you watch
at the open lattice
as your
servant hurries away

the next morning letter

tethered to
a spray of clematis
whose blossoms will
not open

until they reach me

In the washbasin
your face is
the bridge that

the floating world of dreams

Now you are yawning
Now you are reciting
bowing to the wind

When the letter arrives

all the leaves of the maple
outside my window

I read your words

just once, then once again
bringing my fingers
to my
lips, my hair

tucked back behind one ear

On the dawn's trellis
the scent of clematis
smell your fingers
The petals of my body
gather in your empty arms

How shall I respond?
The cry of the stag
is so

the echo answers

from the empty mountains
as if it were a doe
I tell
you only what you know

Clematis—the scent
of your teaching surrounds me
empty arms fill
Come night, the fragrant petals
fall in a heap at my feet

by Margaret Gibson
from Blackbird
Spring 2002, Vol. 1 No. 1