for S.W. de Rachewiltz
All morning we looped up, you on practiced, sturdy legs
until near noon we found a farmhouse sunk in grass,
center black from gypsy fires. Beneath its ruined eaves
we ate hard-boiled eggs with salt— a prince’s lunch.
Eggshell mosaics fell into a mossy rain-made trough.
Close by, a church without a roof. I ventured over,
felt on rough discolored plaster the ridges left
where riser, tread, once took whoever’d come
to ring the bell up through a painted heaven.
Scion of cracked genius, adept at four languages,
how much you never said. At twenty you had gravitas.
I knew nothing— conjured castles, vellum, vineyards,
espaliered fruit trees, and how exquisitely
I’d devote myself to you. In late cool afternoon
we circled down. I watched shadows pass like water
through the wood, I changed the shadows into children,
heard them shriek and run from kisses, watched them
fade back into the trees, till rubber-legged around
that last steep bend I went and at the bottom, waiting,
there you were, sober, solid, you were settled as a judge.
Eve’s apple, was it
yellow, green, or red?
Red when she looked,
yellow when she picked,
green when she ate.
Green as new things often are—
light shoots and inner grasses.
In the garden, nothing but kindly beasts
and flowering boughs. Not even
a branch stout enough to give her a leg up
into a tree tall enough to serve as a lookout.
She wanted to look out, over the walls
to what was it?
Endless plains, a few scrub trees,
And without him.
Fondly touching all that they’d named
couldn’t go on forever.
Not to her taste, really, the garden without
the work, the children, the fear.
Maeve Kinkead holds a B.A. and M.A. from Harvard University and an M.F.A. from The Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. An Emmy winning actress, she studied at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Her writing has appeared in The Cortland Review, The New Yorker, Shadowgraph Magazine, and Provincetown Arts. Her poetry appeared in the 2016 Best of the Net Anthology and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 2017 she was the Alan Collins Fellow in Poetry at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Barrow Street Press published her first book of poetry, A Dangling House, in 2017.