Knife and Salt
At sundown, we sit at our garden’s edge,
speak of thinkers and their theories—
what’s real, if something follows
this life, the ways of knowing
the little we know. An owl swoops
the creek below, swift as death. I shift
in my lawn chair, pick at my knee—
an old wound I won’t let heal.
Do you wonder, I ask, if Descartes
ever said, I feel pain, therefore I am?
You sigh, run your eyes to a remnant
of light in the oak above—as if,
in your drift, you could reenter the time
of our son, inhale his dusky scent.
I honor your silence. But what I feel,
what I know, what I want to say is,
we have no choice but to watch
September settle on our garden.
And look! All these tomatoes
that cling to withered vines—blushes
of green and carmine, waxen wines
and yellows, the swollen heirlooms.
When the next one falls, my love,
I’ll pick it up, fetch us a knife and salt.
Finalist, NORward Prize for Poetry
Published in New Ohio Review, Issue 27, Spring 2020.