by Loren Sundlee

After snow the air hangs still
as a father who has struck his child, felt
the luscious swell of muscle against bone

and flesh surprisingly soft almost breaking
from the lesson well taught–though it was no
lesson then but fire past brain

into blood that knows what to do with fire.
Just after that moment the sky
is empty of its descending, hushed except

for some inconsequential cry
of machine or boy receding. Now
following the strafing and icy deluge

a blanched stillness settles, a vacancy,
detumescence, fingers scarring
down the back of clouds.

For a moment the air has room for wind
or stars or words. But nothing fills
the silence, soothes the insufficiency.

One field stretches into another,
refuses to mark the gauzy distance
of quiet inconsequential to peace.

Loren Sundlee‘s poems and short fiction have appeared in various magazines and journals, including Crab Creek Review, Raven Chronicles, Stringtown, Talking River Review, and Windfall. He is an adjunct instructor with the University of Washington and lives with his wife and two children in Yakima County, Washington.

Back to Issue Six: Winter 2010