Victoria, British Columbia

And In Lovemaking

She remembers the nights
you came to her room:
the world, one bed,
big enough
for its own
small moon.


Hunger turning him loose
like birds on a scarecrow’s arm.
Throwing bread to the gulls, who doesn’t
like to see them hungry?

Last night she beat him at cards. He did
the dishes in lather up to his elbows, the laundry,
then spilled warm blankets from the dryer
onto the bathroom floor.

They did not make love.


Summer’s lethargic
arguments glut

as cold turns smaller
birds to leaf
then calls them back

to earth: rain
slow as the season
settles in

through the gills
of a small green sky,
the enormous, gaping leaves.


And in lovemaking-the rare
or the raptured heart-we’re not sure

what moves us to its sudden clarity.
Tenderness, maybe,

but more than a tempered heart.
Not one loon, not one flock

of geese, but birds, yes, birds,
innumerable in spring

with song pronouncing dawn
and sometime later, light.

Susan Stenson’s latest book is My Mother Agrees with the Dead. Wolsak & Wynn, 2007


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