The bones of the buck lie where he lay
by the creek last fall, wounded, licking water.
Small mound of carcass in the meadow's sweep
sunken, smaller now, undistinguishable
from the wrack of winter wheat.
No flag left, spine bare, stiff fringe across the ribs,
his strong legs stripped and milk-pod pale.
Seeds of his last meal deep in rot.
And so it is with our grief.
Extended exhalations, slow dissolves,
the stubborn skull protecting memory,
like last meat, in a bony cave.
And something rooting down
inside, ready to rise.
When I am ash, as is my wish,
take a stone out to the field for me
and leave it near the meadow wall
where it won't jam machinery.
Nothing cut or polished. Something
tumbled down the stream and smoothed
with sand will do, the sort of stone
that's been there all along. It's just
that in the field tonight, I stopped
and stood beyond the cedars
in the hedgerow's coils and twists—
the heart-shaped lump of a wasp nest
suspended from a maple branch above
my own dark shape—and the moon's
unclouded eye fell on us all so equally,
it seemed as good a place as any I could be.
in a cardboard boat, barely
a handful missing.
The ones I brought you
in a small blue dish.
Two days ago. Or was it three?
Everything else is still here—
your book and pencil,
eyeglasses, pillow, chair,
even the motes in the air.
Still here. Still here.
My hands that pitted the fruit.
My hands that smoothed back your hair.
HAYDEN SAUNIER'S poetry has appeared in 5 A.M.,Beloit Poetry Journal, Mad Poets Review, Margie, Nimrod, Philadelphia Stories, Drunken Boat and Rattle, among others. She is the 2005 winner of the Robert Fraser Poetry Award, a Bucks County Poet Laureate and a Pushcart Prize nominee. An actress and voice-over artist, her film and television credits include The Sixth Sense, Philadelphia Diary and Hack. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her debut collection of poems, Tips For Domestic Travel, was a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award.