Poetry Fiction Issue

Bright Shadow

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Wherever they come from whether the all-
        but-impenetrable bracken
             on the nearer
      side of Maple Road (so closely does she bed

them down) or deeper in the wetland (each
        new season surrendering further to
             the strangle
      of purple loosestrife) they

have made for weeks a daybed of
        the longer
             grass beneath the net
      that sometimes of an evening marks

the compass of our shuttlecock
        so Steven
             when at last he finds
      an afternoon for mowing must purposely

chase them into the woods where she
        so watchful
             in the normal course of foraging but
lulled or made a stranger to her own

first-order instinct for dis-
        quietude (so firmly
             have the scents and apparitions of
      this people-riddled bit of earth impressed

themselves upon the wax that stands for world-
        as-usual) (a scant
             twelve months ago she was
      herself the sucking diligence that made

the mother stagger on the dew-drenched
        lawn) will find them near the salt lick and
             as by a subtle field-of-
      force will reel them back to

stations-of-the-daily-path that portion out
        their wakefulness
             (the ravaged
      rhododendrons bearing witness) forever en-

grafting the strictures of hunger (bright shoots)
      to the strictures (bright
        shadow) of praise.

Linda Gregerson’s latest collection of poems, Waterbourne, received the Kingsley Tufts Prize. She teaches at the University of Michigan.
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