Home > Poetry > The Gate
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 Family Loss Nature
The Gate

_           for my mother

Once I saw her walking in the evening through the field
near Allens Pond her hair the color of salt hay
arms thin and brown swinging at her sides as if she knew
where she was going and what called her
only later that same summer when the dahlias had come up
fast blooming all of a moment as they do
I realized she was gone from me
across that field through the unpainted gate
that swung inward
she was gone and the hay had been kicked over
spread to sun and the swallows, their nesting done,
flew wild over the marshes weaving things unseen
through smooth wet light
their wings like blades to the sky
while down below the pond lay still
skinned back at the end of day to its own
bone-lit darkness
I could just see her footsteps
still left in the grass
hollow places
where her soft weight had pushed down

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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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