by J. T. Ledbetter

Maybe we should leave here and travel, she said,
arranging the last of summer flowers in a vase—
just leave this old marsh once and for all.

Someday we’ll leave, he said, but who knows when? Or how.
You always say that, she said, snipping the longer stems.
Why don’t we just pack today and drive around the dog
soaking up the sun to the highway and toss a coin about
left or right?

She watched crows fly out of the ruined corn.
I don’t think that’s what I had in mind about leaving, he said,
watching her stir little motes of silver with a crystal wand.
I can be ready in an hour, she said over her shoulder, moving the
vase to another window. I can’t, because it will take you that long
to decide what to do with your flowers.

She put a doily under the vase, then slid it out, looking at me,
trying to place me with the trees and the blackbirds and her
vase of flowers. Have we been here too long to change anything—
like the two of us together? Is there such a thing as too much
history? I wonder.

He watched her lean against the window. Then I suppose we
had better stay and leave the geese on their marsh, he said.
Like us, it’s the only world they know. She was quiet, watching
the trees move into shadow. I suppose we should go up to bed,
she said. The dog has.

He lay awake, listening to wind surround the house with its
insistent voice, trying the doors. Are you asleep? I didn’t think
you were. No, I’m not. But listen! It’s raining. I wonder if the geese
like it. I think we can sleep now It’s raining, she said again. Hold me.

Published on July 5, 2018