Annie Sauter

The sky is darker here, always
Some tone of severe, even when
Mixed-- with the cotton fluff of stray
Clouds, that adeptly mimic softness.
It is still stark and eastern, as inherent , as
The angular . All the features
Which define, Eastern European. An unconscious
Harshness--not exactly cruel, but

Sharp enough to cut.
A bleeding-born of never enough
Always on the edge. So many
Edges to be negotiated. Moved around. Like
That singular rock in a garden that just
Cannot be removed. Inscribed with the steel
Blade of countless years of trying. More of
A resignation,
Yet, not without some resentment. Only a will
To grow around it, out of necessity. Not to be dwelt on
But just to plant the hearty--beets
And greens. The woody, and the tongue splintering:

Turnips and rutabagas--that will flourish-if that is the word.
They dig deep. surviving in the dull savory, that avoids
All that is sweet like a plague, like a shadowed

A darkness embraced. Black and white like film-flashes
In an always-lightning, of striped shiny stallions,
Blackend beads of cold sweat-hard
As onyx.

Always straining.
Always pulling
The endlessly wicked
A reckless shiny coach

Always leaning.
Always precarious:

Listing at the ledge
Of the bottomless

A fuck you to all things
Winged and
Hardened as veined leather.

That is how I love you.

Even on the easy days -- of my bare feet, and
Summer , when the air is still, and cats laze,
Sleepily stretching out,
On the planks of your
Half-finished porch. Still

Contentment smiles
Still warm

Bloody, on our whiskers.


ANNIE SAUTER, poet and performance artist, lives in Upstate NY and Almont , Colorado. She doesn't write much about the silver maples or the Lupines, but it has happened. She began writing for the underground Presses of NYC and Berkeley in the 1960s. She is still alive.