"there's no through trail" —Han-Shan, translated by Gary Snyder

Filling the Nest by Elizabeth Rees

Issue: Spring 2017

Filling the Nest

 

Before I wake you
in our messy nest of seeds,
our fecund field of bed,
I invoke eggs’ wisdom
and cast a hundred wishes:
A fleet of fish

will rush my cells,
a zillion buoys bobbing
on a sea that mimics silk,
errant tippling sea, up
my shins, my coccyx, all
my difficult parts you kiss.

The best part is I still
like you. I want to
meet you under the sheets
in the middle of the afternoon.
So, minutes shy of midnight,
by candle light and smoke,

I imagine you floating up
from the deep ink of sleep
to sign your name all over me.
Our children have left,
the house is ours.
Soon I will unfold my wings,

hop the ladder rungs to our bed.
I will bring sticks from the yard
and flies in my pocket, honey
and threads, maybe a loom.
I will bring elbows and hip bones
and all of my belly, I will come
to fill what is empty, to empty
what was full, all desire —
inchoate, hungry desire.
I am your bird, your beautiful
undoing, dearest
friend, I am yours for life.


Elizabeth Rees‘s first collection, Every Root a Branch, was published in 2014 by Codhill Press.  She is also the author of four award-winning chapbooks.  Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Kenyon Review and Agni.  New work is forthcoming in Barrow Street and The Southern Review.