by Susan Browne
Winner of the
2002 Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry
selected by Edward Hirsch
paper, 71 pages, $14.95
SMALL PLEASURES, GREAT SWEETNESS
Just before dawn, the wind begins rioting,
and my love and I discuss the towering pine,
how it might crash through the roof, into our bed,
and suddenly I take pleasure in his nose,
which is small and aquiline and a fine addition to his face,
a face I have not tired of looking at in eight years.
The wind rattles the loose mouldings of the window panes
and we muse on the odds of being crushed.
I don't believe the worst will happen,
but he grew up in Denmark and knows
relentless rain, seasons of darkness,
bars that stay open all night,
and is surprised he made it past thirty
every year is a bonus, he says.
I love his gratitude as I love the way he falls to sleep,
immediately, his nose a saxophone of breath tilted toward the stars.
Sometimes he holds my hand while he sleeps, a sweetness
that feels like grace. Wind pummels the doors
as I rise onto him and he rises into me,
the pine lurching in a green arc
like a wave about to break.