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  • Rehearsal for Ending
  • Sarah Maclay (bio)

Feathers—or birds, or leaves

fell slowly into the snowamong the dark thin hounds

and their hunters,obscuring the wet bark torsos

of the trees,larger

even than the black-cladskaters on celadon

ponds, grim as themorning sky

and melting as,seconds later,

snow—I'm sure—was floating up—flakes or white feathers

losing their scantgravity

as the ice began to burnalong the edges

and the drifts of tulleveiling the long grass— [End Page 73]

already slowed, elongated—tangled in muddy clouds of web

as Mahler appeared—I think it was Mahler

—or something had happened to the air,

echoing the distance among those sameincreasing shades of green, in notes

or in something that trembles—

something else, something far apart

as the roiling gray of a fishtail-braided cloud, years

and seconds laterin that pentimento of rain, grainy and darkand darkening the distances of greenwaters and murky fields

until it seems barely possible to make outthe few abandoned fishing boats

and almost impossible to tellwhether the two tall stalks

are cut-off sailsor the edges of self-pruning cottonwoods

that have grown, in confusing weathers,up through salt

and through the teal and emerald ofthe slippery reeds of shore toward the roiling gray corn

of the clouds in their horizontal twisting above shards of wallbelow. And then white moths, [End Page 74]

like motes, floating into the star-dark sky,just as after the box is opened and things fly out

some of them are still alive, and light,even as the sail-cloak darkens over the body

and the lover extends the fingers again toward the wound, and tries,and cannot stand. [End Page 75]

Sarah Maclay

Sarah Maclay is the author of three books of poetry: Music for the Black Room (2011), The White Bride (2008), and Whore (2004). She teaches at Loyola Marymount University, in California.



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