All in by Heather Treseler

by Heather Treseler

A small rain down can rain but I am not outside, beside

an aluminum mouth of a gushing gutter, watching

the city sluiced in the casual event of falling water.

Nor am I standing in a shale of rubble, circled by dead

children’s toys, or crouched in a buckling raft, crusted

in cold salt and urine, chattel in a game of rockets

and gas. I breathe from two lungs, integral; my legs

warm under blankets’ nightly benediction. And love

lies sleeping, unharmed and unarmed beside me, arc

of her shoulder familiar as landscape to a painter whose

hands remember the curves of two cleaved hills, forelock

of treeline, the wild mane of sky. I trace hollow shadows

in a dark naming of parts as if my lover were a getaway

horse: throatlatch, barrel, and cannon; pastern, gaskin,

and hock. Tender, the names given to boats and beasts

of burden, what carries us from dock to ocean, trailhead

to highway, midnight to morning, censure to pleasure:

fugitives from dreams’ disasters. My beloved of nape,

buttock, and thigh; or stern, winch, and turnbuckle; or

dock, loin, and withers: in your body’s boat, I stow trust

for safe passage while distant wars make their incursions,

violence sends its newsworthy summons, and weather makes

a music of time. A small rain down can rain and by luck, Christ,

or zeitgeist, I cradle her in sleep’s long sail toward morning.

*Note from the author: The italicized line is adapted from the famous anonymous poem “Western Wind” from the early sixteenth century. To read it in modern English, please visit:
For my purposes, I swap out the first article (“a” for “the”). 


Heather Treseler’s poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Alaska Quarterly Review, Boulevard, Harvard Review, Iowa Review, Obsidian, Southern Humanities Review, and Missouri Review, among other journals. She is an associate professor of English at Worcester State University and a Visiting Scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center. In 2018-19, she is working on a manuscript of poems, Thesaurus for a Year of Desire, with the support of a fellowship from the Boston Athenaeum.