23. The Call

The harvest is past, the summer

Is ended, and we are not saved.

-Jeremiah 8:20

The morning before it happens

at the rim of the field I wait

for the call: the hard ground,

the lull, and all around, on the verge

the lit houses lie sorted and stored.

And now the sound of arrowheads

without shafts scything through a field

making room for ripe new fruit. A

shudder. Then no sound. Some people

live out their entire lives.

It was hard to imagine when you

came here all you wanted was

his smile. Now you can dance,

busy yourself getting old. So hard to

leave the faded heaven, unwritten letters,

contagions, the lies, hedging possibility,

simple absence, warped miracle.

The morning before it happens

at the rim of the field I wait

for the call: it’s possible

to hear distant apples drop

against the answer of such air, to

follow that sound till you find

no apple and no tree. The flesh

has dissolved into secret;

the bones are in the sea.

— Patricia Traxler

Originally appeared in New Letters

Author of three poetry collections including Forbidden Words (Missouri), Traxler has published her poetry widely, including in The Nation, Ms. Magazine, Ploughshares, Agni, LA Times Literary Supplement, Slate, The Boston Review, and Best American Poetry. Awards include two Bunting Poetry Fellowships from Radcliffe, Ploughshares’ Cohen Award, and a Pablo Neruda Award from Nimrod.

2 thoughts on “23. The Call

  1. Ms. Traxler, heard you read at PSU…knew I would read something unique by you here. Love the last line…bones in the sea…..

  2. Thanks, Claudia–very nice of you to take the time to say so, and I appreciate it. (Also, I very much enjoyed my visit to PSU! Met some extraordinary students there.)

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