Poetry, Robin Chadwell
At the End
I am thinking about the ethics
of pruning yellow leaves.
Is the green mother plant better off letting them go.
Hear how my voice doesn’t rise at the end.
And what of the dying?
Do they want a quick death?
I thought I was saving them the trouble
and maybe I was
yellow is a color, too. At the end
“don’t let me die in a hospital.”
If you split me open for firewood
my core might look like tree rings
or sloping cornfields
after the combine
has barreled through.
But if you put me in the woodstove
I'll burn lavender-blue
incense of sea salt and cancer.
Better then, to make chairs of me,
a table for the family
to gather ’round.
Water makes me light
enough to carry—
let’s build a house in the neighbor’s pond.
Come new year
we’ll send postcards—the love of cattail seeds
floating to nowhere in particular.
We’ll raise half-human swamp babies
who will leave us for gravity’s pull
and resent us for giving them gills.
When the children are gone
and the house is paid off
and all that’s left are hazy sunrises
and muted bird songs
we will remember we’re in love,
and green curtains of algae will draw open.
I wish I couldn’t find out
what my childhood bully is
these days I am wary of window shopping and I wear only linen I only wear things that feel
light as air. I’m heavy enough walking up and down sitting up and down standing up and
some days all I do
is carry myself.
Robin Chadwell is a farmer and poet living in the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts. Robin's poetry has been published by the Hudson Valley Writers Guild, The Scapegoat Review, and is forthcoming in the Hyacinth Review. See more on Instagram: @robinchadwell