The Epistemology of Rosemary
Together in the garden, a cigarette cradled
between her ﬁngers, she tells me of breeding
cockatiels—clutch after successful clutch, and what
she can’t forget: the time of one-too-many and
the smallest chick pushed from the nest.
How she thought mistake and put it back again,
only to see the same, simple denial.
And then, for days, trying to make her hands
avian, to syringe-feed the bird into flight.
One thin month lies between us and our miscarriage,
and I feel her grow silent under the new vastness
of this wreckage. I try to talk about my father
breaking blighted pigeon eggs: at twelve, I thought
patience and pressed him to wait, one week, then two,
until frustration set and he crushed the shells
before me, against the coop. I wanted to gather up
each shard, to will those gossamer embryos
into growth again— What do we rescue
now, at home, gleaning herbs in the evening,
as swallows swerve in the fallow air? I lean over
her shoulder: her hair smells of the rosemary we take,
and of the rosemary we leave to freeze in the garden.
from Revising the Storm
BOA Editions, 2014