Today's poem is by Rebecca Hoogs


Suppose you know your friends
             have been together for five years
                         without ever having sex, and then

they marry. Even the words we're enjoying
             the toaster
seem scorched onto the thank-you note,
                         seem frenzied with innuendo.

And there they are, up against
             the kitchen counter of your mind,
                         the settings twisted to dark, burnt bread

panting out hotly from the two slots
             like twin beds aflame, a jar of something sweet
                         tipped and spilling a slow-motion stream

to the tile. Perhaps it is not how you would do it,
             but it makes sense, how they did it:
                         the wedding in the Midwest,

the land like a sheet, one corn-colored mile
             unfolding after another; the honeymooning
                         not in Greece or Paris

but at home, all things being new
             and sharp as untried registry knives.
                         Imagine the bear

standing before that at-long-last hive,
             how he's all skin and bones
                         from living so long

on nuts and berries.
             Listen for the bees of yes
                         and no and not yet

swarming sleepy, subdued from the smoke
             of the fire just lit. Above, the old hunger
                     moon grows to overflowing,

is pinned between waxing and waning.
             And the first taste—
                         the condensed collection, the work,

the wait, the intricate dance
             of all those years—
                         tastes sweeter taken straight

from the paw.

Copyright © 2004 Rebecca Hoogs All rights reserved
from The Laurel Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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