………..I heard a music struck
from the dense shadow of houses,
the line of fields stretching out,
and on the river’s muddy bank,
the scurrying crayfish.

Where the hummingbird
………..supped, the trumpet vine’s
red flower resounded,
tremolo of the fig tree, eaten by ants.

………..A white magnolia
blazed forth in the meadow,
petals falling on my shoulders like snow,
without its cold. Trees remained green,
their leaves unfailing:
………..a summer without end.

I ran barefoot through Bermuda grass,
………..the chortle of children playing
in every yard. Cavalry
pounded past, with bugles blaring,
………..elephants heaved tree trunks,
panting, a lion burst through
a sumac thicket, gold in the sun.

………..That music captivated me,
raised me from torpor, unknown voices
ripped through air, stars
………..scripted their white language.
Beside me, a continual blossoming.

An arbor of honeysuckle sheltered
garbage cans, pumpkin school buses
lay abandoned in cotton fields.
………..I raced in freedom
through the long, slow days,

unknowing. In Rousseau’s painting
a gypsy plays his pipe in the shadows
and the sower spreads a handful of seed
………..over the fields, his body bent
by the weight of what he carries.

………..In a deliberate sun I stepped,
heedless, into the rose garden,
Helen Traubel and Peace,
………..dawn-colored, pink and gold,
loosed their exuberant fragrance.

A pizzicati of stars
burst through the black sky.
………..Lost in that music,
oboes throbbing like hearts,
I knew nothing of all that would happen:

years of drought and silence crouched
………..in the bud of the white
camellia beside the house.

+

Claudia Buckholts has received creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and the Grolier Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Indiana Review, Minnesota Review, New American Writing, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and other journals. She is the author of two books: Bitterwater and Traveling Through the Body.