Children in Hurricane Weather
Long after, when they return to you, what choice
do they then have but to come to you faceless
through an open door, not unlike leaves blown in.
We have not been given any heaven here,
nor can I say it is not they, in autumn,
who move across the floor so that the windrows
of pine seeds shift all to the far side, breathless.
By now, you’ve long caught me here by your bass line
dropped after them through the choke-weeds down-streaming.
When you become lost to them, yourself faceless
in autumn, the brood-chicks in the shagbark woods
will once more be full grown. By then, the water
will be perched upland, lingering in high-pitched
tenor of loss. By when the stick-work dams burst
in erosion of cut-banks, in undoing
the soul-rim of you by largo of floodtime,
there may be no other way of brothering
left you. It’s a thin grey line that has been drawn
like a string pulling, as on a toy boat dropped
from a bridge railing, so that by evening,
drag chains come echoing back over childhood,
only, when have you not known sound to finger
impingements on the air, bring salts through cell walls?
The last one in rides a string down right through it.
Audrey Bohanan was born in 1948 in central-southern New Hampshire, where she also spent her childhood, growing up on one of the state’s few remaining family farms. Educated at the University of New Hampshire and a graduate of the Vermont College MFA in Writing Program, she has taught writing and poetry for the Johns Hopkins University and Champlain College for many years and also teaches privately and runs workshops in her local area. In addition to her career in poetry, she earlier served an apprenticeship in the printing industry and journeyed in a shop transitioning from hot-metal typography to digital print. She is married to the furniture-maker and musician Jeff Lind. Having moved to coastal Maine in the mid-1970s, they live and work off the grid on a piece of backland devoted to tree growth and wildlife habitat. This poem comes from her forthcoming book, Any Keep or Contour, published by the Waywiser Press and finalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize.