As if in an endless rehearsal,
I packed and unpacked. The challenge,
you said, was to take no more
than I’d need. Tenderly, you followed
the track of a storm moving in from the east.
In bed, a wrinkled map across our laps;
you circled a town and highlighted a road.
A yellow, satiny, path. When we slept,
you tried the path, left markers
you had kept for days like these.
And the markers were keys. Clues
in a moonscape of dust-covered things –
a pair of gloves with suede tips; a scarf;
a ring. Ruins like proof of a marriage,
a story’s skeletal sheen, small deaths, small
victories. Maestro, my mourning dove,
another chance? Put me back in that place,
with its signals and gestures and promise
of more mistakes. And I’ll show you
the hurtful lessons lovers make.
M.B. McLatchey is the author of two books of poems, The Lame God, for which she won the 2013 May Swenson Award (Utah State University Press) and Advantages of Believing (Finishing Line Press). She is also the author of a recently-completed educational memoir, Beginner’s Mind, excerpts of which have won The Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award and appeared in journals such as MEMOIR (and), Slippery Elm, Chautauqua and the Carolina Quarterly. A widely published author, she is the recipient of several literary awards, including the American Poet Prize from the American Poetry Journal and the Annie Finch Prize from the National Poetry Review. Recently elected as Florida’s Poet Laureate for Volusia County, she is Associate Professor of Classics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Visit her at www.mbmclatchey.com.