Into a field of blue vervain
& warm sticky stems of wild phlox
a couple walks. He carries a bottle
of wine, she glasses. They are drunk
on the cooling last wisps
of sunlight threading through
a stand of trees at the field’s edge.
She believes the field is temporary,
the small task of flowers night
will soon quell; that each sorrow
has a name: the sour chokecherries,
the sweeter mulberry. Only the symbol
is infinite, she thinks—someone dies,
someone is born, sex continues
its dark work deep in the trembling pistil.
But he is struck by the sudden blue swell
at twilight & his dull urge to pray.
He thinks the trillium, its ovate petals
alight in the low fire of sunset, is enough.
The couple does not speak. Instead
taking wide, slow steps as if a child
trudged quietly between them, they walk
amid the unbroken hymn
of bottlebrush, each so separately
absorbed they don’t notice their footsteps
beneath a giant cedar have startled
an ear-full of waxwings—& when they stop
to look up, the tree’s thin branches shudder
as the birds kiss it away & curve
in unison into the sun’s last path of light.