Quinn Lewis – After

photo credit: Dana L. Brown

 

Quinn Lewis
After

If it exists,
it is lonely as a field unflowered,
but no less sweet,

not vast or rich,
nor a sea you dreamed of –
sea of water, sea of cloud.

Only what it is – ungolden.
After is a row of blackberry brambles
stretching along

the small clearing’s edge.
The thorns prick, as they would
before. And still you forget

carefulness when picking.
No sting anymore, and no blood
drops. The red foxes

eat from the brambles.
The foxes, they are real.
Their redness is light

against the newfallen snow.
But they cannot see you,
your fingers stained

by the blackened-violet
like night, which is not here.
This, too, is light against the cold.

The creatures’ soft ears flick.
Whether or not it exists,
the ground is always covered

in snow, unaware of time,
in the sweetness of fallen apples
that made no sound.

You won’t remember a thing,
and this is good. After will feel
like a blanketing in loose-drawn fog

in the tall grass, barely wetted.
And the berries – they are always ripe,
unripe, ripening.