To arrive home in daylight, we leave before dawn
negotiating the icy Pike, the Berkshires marbled
with snow, aiming for the bridge over the Hudson
lit lavender-gray, like the glint of a clean knife.
At our first stop the sky’s gone starlet-pale
against the smudged trees, the blur-black cars.
Across the lanes a red barn, cows out in the raw.
I have never seen a farmer, these mornings.
Closer, closer: west along the lake, churning
steel above its wrecks. Fields, vineyards exposed
in the grime-light, enduring our reckless passage.
Did I say home? We go back. We go back.
Outside the liquor store where I hunt for Beaujolais
there’s a print, a cluster of matte velvet blue grapes
at eye-level, big as playground balls, draped with silk,
which I thought was a novel way to advertise how
wine bonds us to unruly nature until I realized the silk
wasn’t really there with the grapes, wasn’t photographed;
some spiderkind creature thought the enormous fruit
welcoming, a place to live or eat or breed or change,
and over the perfect sunlit surface wove a second skin,
now wisping away, now crushed under so many feet.
CAROLYN OLIVER’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, Indiana Review, Cincinnati Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Shenandoah, 32 Poems, Sixth Finch, Southern Indiana Review, FIELD, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the Goldstein Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review, the Writer’s Block Prize in Poetry, and the Frank O’Hara Prize from The Worcester Review, where she now serves as a poetry editor. Carolyn lives in Massachusetts with her family. Online: carolynoliver.net.