The Cardinal Directions in Close Embrace

She forgets how to tango
with the least tern
after it migrates to Argentina.
These winter boots have chased away
any grace she had left.

Wild turkeys dodge snow banks.
Squirrels cackle at her
as she runs by. Is it because
she has forgotten how to tango
with civil twilight?

Is it because the raven appears
demystified in the fog?
She forgot how to tango long before
crossing the bridge—its international
orange her model for taking a stand

against the sky and ocean. A miracle
that such a boisterous cry for help
can erupt from such a puny body.
She will have forgotten
how tango hummingbird mint

clashes with the Bethlehem Steel towers
when she finally plants beds of it
in her coastal garden.
So desperate to be mesmerized
by the 80-beats-per-minute buzz

of the tiny creature’s fluttering wings
as they draw invisible figure eights
in the air. Her own heart races
at the site of a spectral owl
in a mountain forest she stumbles into

on her way back east. Stories
told during a memorial service still linger
in the sloped meadow beyond the way
Ruth Stone would have whispered the last
lines to her poem “The Train Ride”:

“All things come to an end.
No, they go on forever.”
As for the tango,
she forgot
she never learned how.

2 thoughts on “The Cardinal Directions in Close Embrace

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