Then There

Chard deNiord
| poetry


This spring we planted again, turned the earth

and pushed the seeds into the ground with our thumbs

just deep enough, then covered them with the compost

loam that we had cooked throughout the winter.

Then there, buried in the loam, your auburn hair—

strands and clumps of it which you had put

in the can when it was falling out in your hands.

I threw it on the lawn where it glistened in the grass.

“Look!” I said, “the ground has sprouted your hair!”

“So poetic, dear,” you said. “The grass

can’t have it all,” I said. “We need it, too,

as a souvenir. Let’s leave it there but take

some, too.” Which we did, only to notice

that the hair we left in the grass was gone the following

day. “The wind has donned your hair,” I said,

at which you laughed and then agreed since I

had reached so far beyond the pale and was reaching

still. “It needed it for what?” I asked.

“The clouds? Sunsets? The air?” But then I saw

it again a few weeks later in a spruce at the edge

of the yard: those auburn strands entwined around

some straw in a nest with four blue eggs and the mother

watching from above with small black eyes

that burned right through from the other side.

Chard deNiord is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Interstate (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) and The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011). His new book of poetry titled In My Unknowing is scheduled for publication in February of 2020 (University of Pittsburgh Press). His poems have appeared recently in AGNI, Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly, The Southern Review, Blackbird, and The Gettysburg Review. He is the Poet Laureate of Vermont and a Professor of English at Providence College. He lives in Westminster West, VT, with his wife Liz.

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