2003 Winner's Poem
by Stacie Cassarino
It's so dark walking East Hill Road
we no longer see each other,
what does it matter? outline
of trees crowding the sky, fog lowering,
our bodies urgent, fractious, reinvented.
Once, I would have married,
you say. Around us no light
enters. Surely the pinewood
has closed in on itself, a body
of water deepens. He was climbing
down from the roof
when he fell,
you say. Three stories.
Your hand makes a straight line
in the air, he just stopped feeling.
I remember the hidden meadow,
dense with fescue and steepleflower.
I wonder if he recognized you
after, if you stood there saying
who am I
to remind you? Feel something.
Where the road finishes, we turn
back, and for once I understand
the blind heart fumbling, the way
language uses us: elderberry, fox-
glove, the pink trumpets of morning
resounding in the airfield.
There's no hurt you can't unthink.
Around us a slow wind begins.
At least he won't ever feel sadness,
you say, and I think I see you,
your arms swinging
at your sides, unable to choose
what you can live without.
The Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award 2003, Judged by David St. John:
As of 2003 Stacie Cassarino's poems have appeared in the Indiana Review, Iowa Review and Columbia. She was a finalist for the Iowa Award. She is currently working on her first book with the support of residencies at the Millay Colony and Ragdale Foundation. She lives in Windwor, CT.