Home > Poetry > Night in August
Published: Wed Apr 15 2020
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
AGNI 91 Loss Parenthood Relationships
Night in August

Crossing back into the unfinished country
of a hot night in August
when we took the boat upriver
past Gunning Island
the moon drove through the surface
low clouds thrown like fleece
we anchored in the cove
below the smooth green silence
and found ourselves gone
the expected and the unexpected ways
it can happen
when you turned to me and told what you had seen
earlier that day
the hawk flying off with the clutch
how the two robins dove at that hawk
as it worked its way higher
one tiny thing fell
you went to look
the nest was empty
nothing cruel, nothing kind
it will take what it takes to feed its own
I swung around then slowly toward your eyes
resting on my face for that long moment
your hair wet
strung through with the light
and I remembered how I saw you once
slipped from the glittering body
of the river at night into the world

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Dawn Tripp’s fourth novel, Georgia, was a national bestseller, finalist for the 2016 New England Book Award, and winner of the 2017 Mary Lynn Kotz Award for Art in Literature. An earlier novel, The Season of Open Water, won the Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction. Her stories, poems, and essays have appeared in ConjunctionsAGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, Harvard Review, Gay Magazine, and elsewhere, as well as on NPR. She lives in Massachusetts. (updated 4/2020)

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