Summer day like a held breath, like held words
in a woman’s mouth, like a woman’s mouth stopped
by a chafed palm. Day like a chafed palm beneath
a work glove. A work glove hung from electric wire.
Electric wire pulsing above a house. Where there is
a house, there is a straight road beside a house,
and where there’s a straight road, there’s a road’s
end. What does the city know of the road’s end? City
a perfumed woman with crossed arms. City a man
faced seaward. City man never need to think about
roads, and who make money into roads, and who
make money out of living. Who pave a living over
dirt. What does the dirt know of a knot of streets?
Where every way becomes every other way, every
day leads to another day of chasing a road that never
lets day rest. Country a hard woman, city held to her
breast. Country a woman alone at the end of a way.
Eyes running hard from field to darkling wood,
from wood to the back lawn where her children play.
Here, where a woman’s breath makes a summer day.
Here, where a word held home is still thought good.
Rachel Custer‘s first full-length collection, The Temple She Became, is available from Five Oaks Press. Other work has previously been published or is forthcoming in Rattle, The American Journal of Poetry, B O D Y, [PANK], and DIALOGIST, among others.