Spring 2017

Edited by Andrea Spofford | Barry Kitterman | Amy Wright


Heading Home

Nancy Chen Long

there is the tree of not-knowing and what is
not knowing

if not an accident

waiting to jolt open the dark
road you have always traveled
familiar in its curve

take for example the curve of a husband’s back
take the sycamore tree in the bend

its gray-and-white mottled knots
too close to the road
trunk camouflaged lost in the snow

there is no berth on a country road
no grace granted by a berm

it’s late and field after flattened field
moon lights up the snow
each oddly-shaped flake does its job

reflecting refracting

if you were awake you would say something

how fireworks have grown out of the ground

how there is the unknowing

the cannot know

and either the baby is safe in her car seat or she isn’t

if you had been awake

you would have seen the herd of deer

stalking through the cornfield

stepping through stubble that peeked above all that whiteness
to you it would have looked like something stolen

from a manger scene

birth of a child on a country road

star from afar portending something significant

perhaps deer instead of cattle

the snow glitter on a Christmas card

there is the unknown

and there is the choosing to not know
the choice to drift
and so you drift

off the road

there is the incomputable

long division

timbre of a heart divided by slivers of sycamore
there is the language you cannot parse

true and false are all there

is a deer in the road there is

a sycamore tree trunk

wide as baby’s cradle

waiting for you 

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