Featured Poem: House Arrest

By Catherine Bowman

I confess to these feet,
tethered to the earth,
pulled down by force
every time I jump or try
to fly. Like you, an old tree
sentenced us, keeps your wings
under lock and key
so we’ll bicker with the birds
over scraps of weather
and the privilege to sing
or be seen. In the dark,
we scavenge midnight,
make chains out of stars
and bracelet shame.
My biggest crime, I could
not trust. I confess, I shut
myself off from the one
I needed and loved most.
I confess, I could not be
woken or accept myself
to the river’s basin to be washed.
I’m dirty, scratching love notes
on the wall. Tonight, outside,
winter, subzero. Too cold
to snow. The neighbor
next door shooting phantom
deer with a handgun,
his beagle tied to a tree.
Over wooden bowls,
we count, we’ve become experts
at counting. When did we
make each other serial?
The keys froze in the ignition:
tonight the moon rises
from a ravine, a spice drawer
of pickled ferment to feast.
For us it’s only surveillance:
under surveillance we interrogate
each other’s mouths, pursue
every laugh and cry as they twist
and turn through our time,
as we investigate and ransack
our dog-rabbit-wolf shadows,
the half ones, the whole ones,
and cross-examine every intent,
put hidden taps to choice
appendages. In the basement,
we de-crimson our one last apple,
cut a tunnel through the core,
truss ourselves in aromatics,
climb in and out to the garden:
among the capable trees,
the not-degraded weeds,
the flowers released,
arrested in light, we stand
on strong enduring feet,
confess, captives of earth,
to the heart, aflame, the source—
across this iced plain—
the only material witness.
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