Leonore Wilson – The Matter of This World

The Matter of This World

And sometimes the back hills
spring was blocked and mother
had to reach into the rusted pipe,
reach up to her elbow to remove packed
wet laurel leaves, reaching in as a midwife
might to remove a child; yes sometimes
the pipe was blocked, a straightjacket
maddening color of detritus inside,
fistfuls of it, and then the wild ducks
flew in to sip from the pipe and
concrete cistern, little beggars they were
and the boar and his sow, their plundering
flock, coy little scribes for they had licked
the salt block first and dipped their fat
pink tongues into the pail of soaked oats
and sweet molasses left by the foreman
who ran the cattle. O Samaritan woman
at the well, how you loved this humble work,
this buzzing humming beautiful song,
this brief foray for decades, you loved
the wisdom and sorcery of feeding
the white tailed deer in the late days
hour, the burnished mountain lion,
ratcheting brown bear, the wild astonished
doves with lyre like calls, and sometimes
when I was a young, mother cupped her hands
to make a basin and let me lap the cold
fresh water and wash my country hair;
oh I remember in the placatory meadow,
how the tired mares and nursing foals
dawdled in the young aromatic fungi,
the morning silt and spring mud,
the great piles of fragrant wood,
and the crazed flycatchers in primitive
laughing dactyls arrived with the lucky
bobcats, their thin sharp cries
in the prides of grasses, prophetic aging
against the carnal world; how the beats
of mother’s heart began, two notes at a time,
this desire like an addiction that lives in the hive
of the body, hidden as honey; mother lost
in the statutes of thought, mother scavenging
as if summoning all her strength
for the father of her children was a crude
broad bridge with breaking boards
and rusted nails she had to cross,
divorce papers like scattered stones,
the sanctuary of her good deeds,
a deep rich world of luminous parables
ministering her all the way to court.


Leonore Wilson has taught English and creative writing at various colleges and universities in the Bay Area. Her work has been in such magazines as Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Pif, Madison Review, Upstreet, etc.

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