After Her Affair
Here’s what he does to reclaim the ravine:
He puts on leather gloves and strips
the bank of brambles. This takes weeks.
He burns the debris in a pile late one night
while sparks shoot out like stars into the dark.
Then he digs for hidden roots and rakes
the bank clean. By now it’s summer.
He plants spider yarrow, witch hazel,
arbutus and wild ginger. Lady’s mantle,
slender hairgrass, wild lily of the valley.
Hellebore along the narrow path above,
fireweed by the creek bed. All winter
under rain the ravine readies itself.
Buds, bursting. And when the flowers
come, the ravine studded with yellows
and whites, reds and grape blues,
he stands at the window, his hands
still sore from the digging and planting,
the tending, his bones aching a little
deeper, the brambles nowhere to be seen.
First appeared in Rattle – Winter 2013
Also included in Lynne’s forthcoming collection The Persistence of Longing (Terrapin Books).
Lynne Knight grew up in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. Knight graduated from the University of Michigan, where she won two Hopwood Awards, and from Syracuse University, where she was a fellow in poetry and received her MA in Creative Writing and Literature.
After teaching for four decades at both the high school and college levels, Knight now works as a poet and translator. She lives in Berkeley, California.
Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Ontario Review, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, RATTLE, Southern Review and ZYZZYVA.