Issue 4:1 I Poetry I Jennifer Horne
by Jennifer Horne
All day today, in cars careful at stoplights
and moving slowly along the town’s curving roads,
white-haired old ladies dressed in bright colors
have perched in passenger seats, belted-in, precious cargo
conveyed by daughters and nieces to the day’s feasts.
Looking through lightly tinted windshields,
they are remembering old dogs, favorite shoes,
a sudden, brief affair, perhaps regretted
but never forgotten. They wonder
how many holidays are to come—
or maybe I simply wonder for them,
thinking of aunts and cousins of my own.
I shirk the question, the ugly one we do not ask in polite company:
Is this the last? Name it: last laugh, last merry hug,
last look at a face that’s something like my own?
Tonight, a full moon like a knowing, open eye
rose over a picked field of cotton,
white wisps on frail stalks.
Such a familial moon, hanging low in a sky
banded first with blue, then pink, then a color akin to white,
the creamy white of an opaque doorknob.
Earlier, the red light of sunset
flattened the landscape we drove into.
Catfish ponds turned blue, trees flamed.
It was after stopping for coffee that we saw moonrise,
and later, much later, that it rose high,
distant and unforgiving, more judge than confidante,
harshly watching our night ride home.
So what if the feast ends, the sun sets,
the unsayable finally speaks its own name?
I hold this moment sacred around the dazzling table:
our glasses rise in unison, pause, hold,