For R. Paul Saphier 1944–2014
In your paintings in the barn
gallery where we walk now, at
first you are gone. The weeds
are cynical and they shrink
from the way we send our eyes
at them. Someone’s lost the ball.
Someone’s on the bubble, wants
to be gathered in flowering arms.
There was a time when we opened
through trees that swept up fast
and kept our souls stuck to the smalls
of our backs, but that won’t work
while a land froths like waves.
We are looking for you. We roll
across your hills till they taste green
like the paint looks, everything
as the underside of leaves.
We could drink here all day
yet not fill, hot like the horses
we find in a meadow where
they teach us how to run with
our teeth whistling in the wind.
Your unspooled snake is spoken
fresh as the air off the edge of
a cliff that waits through water clad
in winter and once we are wet, we
pour between wall and wall. This
is what it’s like when you leave us:
we circle and circle, without you.
Laurinda Lind lives in New York’s North Country, pretty damn near Canada. Some of her poems are in Atlanta Review, New American Writing, Paterson Literary Review, and Spillway. She is a Keats-Shelley Prize winner and a finalist in eight other writing competitions, most recently the Jack Grapes Poetry Prize.