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Everywhere I Went That Spring, I Was Alone


In the single room of a bathtub, humming "Love
Me Tender" to hear a sullen human
voice. Then after,

fainting in slow motion to the tile. Succumbing
to steam and waking, on my
own, drowsy as a rose.

Mailing a letter and waiting, empty, beside a hornet's
thumb-small home, fit inside the lip
of the mailbox. The hornet

each day startled less by the sudden thunder
of the falling drawbridge, the cymbal
of sunshine let in.

In the kitchen, beside the toaster, crying unabashedly
into dishtowels as I timed my meal
and kept company the cool

block of butter in its iridescent silver, the blunt
knife, the beveled glass that carried
my milk. Alone

when it began to hail one afternoon. A miracle
suspending the cottage in darkness. Alone
taking a photograph

of the glory and alone when the pearly
melt returned the grass to ordinary June. Everywhere
those months my nose buzzed

from crying. Quivered so unlike the hornet, pitiless
in her work. Bleeding intermittently
into my dress hem, how beautiful I became

then, ringed by brown flowers. More
hornet than my hornet friend, alone in her own
collapsing universe.


Paula Bohince

Ploughshares

Winter 2011-12


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