The Story in Seasons
Spring: SEELEY-SWAN VALLEY
We return and return to the source –
the streambed wet with snowmelt
the mud sucking at our shoes
The first words for season
for seeds and leafing out
A simple sex of pollen and stamen
Her eyelashes against my check
Rise of blush
In the beginning the meadows
were flooded, the trees uneasy
in their sodden roots
The river flowed trout-backed
over clicking stones
This is how we tell our story: we came out
of our cool, dark rooms and it was spring
I made you this storm –
tinged the air, fuzzed the lightning myself.
What moisture that hasn’t fallen is alight now.
I was missing you. I got soaked to my skin
in it. Your hands at my back, the softness
of your lips, your cheek, the flash of attraction.
This storm can snap branches. It churns
light from the streetlamps, forces rain
into windows, floods rivers. It feels like falling
from a high place. Please, let it rough you.
Hold it roaring in your banks.
What remains changeless? Not the words
that form in our mouths. Not the senses
that gust through us. The land does not blow away
as we do. Mountains rise and erode
but not like my face as it wears into wrinkles
in the same wind and rain. Delicate and fragmentary
we move on – our moments cupped inside a larger time.
The light on water makes sense to us.
The rise and fall of days make sense.
All things move and make a stillness thereby.
We loved in the smallness of rock fissures,
in the flower’s hypanthium, safe in the space we create.
It is enough, this tiny orbit, the spider’s quivering step.
About the Author: Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Laurel Nakanishi received her M.F.A. from the University of Montana. She is the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship to Nicaragua, and a Wrolstad travel award. She is the author of the prize-winning chapbook, Manoa Makai, and her poems have appeared in Black Warrior, Gulf Coast, Fourth Genre, and elsewhere. She currently teaches poetry in Hawaii and studies non-fiction at Florida International University. Some poems from “The Story in Seasons” are featured in a lyric essay: “Wilderness Triptych,” forthcoming in Orion Magazine.