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White Garden

by Suzanne Weichhart

“Writing a Sestina” appears
in this issue.

Your body is a garden, white
in Springtime, where the Hawthorn hangs
with twilight bloom. Lilies, your hands
unfold to curve around my face.
Our bodies cling, tight as the rope
that binds the stake fast to the tree.

It’s there, beneath a hawthorn tree,
that I first touch the fragile white
sheen of your skin. A flowing rope
of gold, along pale shoulders hangs
your hair. I feel it sweep my face,
and stroke its shining with my hands.

We check a watch, but know its hands
will not stand more still than the tree.
The glowing numbers on its face
declare that time is stark and white:
yet here for us, it always hangs
in dark coils round the night, our rope.

You say that you don’t want to rope
your family in. With trembling hands,
you tell me that our future hangs
on what happened beneath the tree;
then show the test stick, clinic-white,
to see how shock will change my face.

This is a thing I cannot face.
I feel restricted, as by rope
tied up in knots. My knuckles white,
where panic makes me clench my hands
and ache to strike out at the tree;
to tear each branch down where it hangs.

Within your womb, a baby hangs.
It twists and kicks. The new formed face
could grow and flourish, like a tree.
The blood rich cord, a twisted rope,
feeds life that you hold in your hands.
Choices are never black and white.

Your body hangs. They cut the rope;
cover your face. Fold up your hands.
By the bare tree, thick snow lies white.

Copyright © 2006 by Suzanne Weichhart

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