The Places You Listen For, Poetry by Janet Weil

Genre: Relationship, Family, Love

The Places You Listen For
by Janet Weil

The river curves, and pours itself into the ocean,
past the sand spit where ten-foot driftwood
lies bleached and strangely vanquished, at Kalaloch Lodge.

The massive forest of the Washington coast grows
nearly to the surf, final bursts of cottonwood and fir.
Children wander through the shallow tide, searching
for crabs and shells. Lush grasses fringe the parking lot.

The evening sky is a mild gray. The quiet, a caress.
The only sounds, for long stretches, are the voices of crows,
as the dark birds slowly walk the grass and look for dinner.

Because I am here, have been all day
within a dark, unlogged forest

    ancient spruce and cedar
    icy blue river turbulent with glacier runoff
    spicy thimbleberries
    ferns taller than a car

I want you to be here too. I bear the thought of you
inside me like a blessing. I smile for my mother’s camera
and my gaze into her lens wells up from the inner depths,
the places you listen for and know in me.

In an hour, I will eat salmon and fruit with my parents.
You will be here with me,
in the taste of wine I sip as I look at the ocean,
in the feeling of peace too subtle to discuss.

You will be here, in my eyes, in my mouth.

You are not here. I slip the postcard
with my few words into the box.
You are my watching bird, my careful angel.

You cannot save me,
but while you fly beside me,
claw or feather brushing my face,
I will not drown in the surf.

Janet Weil

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“We make history, or history makes us.” – Marge Piercy

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