Quiet as a seed, and as guarded,
our walking took the shape of two people
uneasy together. I had the feeling
that on the anxious incline of that hill we gave the hill
one reason for being. What loneliness, what
privacy was in that? Hey, I said. Race me to the top?
Then is when I nearly tripped on the sly earth,
an earth shaping to itself again. A stone?
But, no, picking it up, bringing the wormed-through
black flesh of it to my height, I knew it for
an apple and gnashed and let the juices freak and down
my face. Don’t ask me why I did it. I know.
I know there are poisons like these we have
to feed each other, promises we try to hold–
how can they be contained? I wanted to give you
what I could of me. To be personal, without
confession. I wanted to believe in the constancy of that hill.
Daylight was tiring. The air, secret, alone.
I won, you said. You did, I said. So we stood there.
"A Southern Wind" from Boy with Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis, © 2015. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.