When We Started Trying

Now we begin this tender business,
creating a blood oath between us.

It is autumn and the orderly growth
of summer has collapsed.

The trees are book margins, white
spider limbs from some lightless place.

I speculate my body: graveyard, indefinite
wintering, boredom and devastation,

or apricot sweetness.In the apartment stairwell,
we smell other people's dinners. They fill up

the hall like an empty banquet room, no tables,
place settings unfilled. We have a place

setting. We can take refuge in the refuge
of others. Someone else having is like us

having. A broken arrow toward a remedy.
The dotted line, where you sign. My eyes

open like moth-wings. I look east. You trace
my birthmark, key-shaped, alligator-half-

submerged-shaped, where Grandmother says
the angel kissed me. We plan the future through

breathed-on glass, snow like catalpa flowers,
nature dissembled, blurring what is all around.

Renee Emerson has her MFA from Boston University, and is the author of two chapbooks, Something Like Flight (Sargent Press 2010) and The Whitest Sheets (Maverick Duck Press, 2010). Her work has recently appeared in Southern Humanities Review, Fourteen Hills, and Christianity & Literature. She currently lives in Louisville, KY with her husband. Her website is

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761