Talking to the Sky
The night our father’s house was burning
I left talking to the sky, holding
a cracked plate, blue
survivor of an ancient set.
Still his roses bloomed on time, red
swaying over ashes, not knowing
how they would go blown
or what else the wind might do.
What stays with you now is shadow
dark and low and unregenerate,
invisible when held to light
but keeping up, even when it falls behind.
And you want to believe it
because you are alone.
I also want, but cannot do the
messianic tangos I see on screens.
The heat is rising, as we know
in waves off summer pavement, as
satyrs on their telephones try to ring
a cocktail waitress on a half shell.
Late that night you dreamed the sky
became a wet membrane you pushed
against and howled, if only
you had a pen of bone, […]
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Roberta Senechal de la Roche is an American historian, sociologist, and poet born in western Maine and raised in upstate New York. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine and the University of Virginia, where she received a doctoral degree in history. Currently Professor of History at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, she lives in the woods outside of Charlottesville near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared in the Montreal International 2011 and 2015 Longlist, Literary Juice, Still: The Journal, the Big River Review, Front Porch Review, and the Colorado Review. She is completing her first volume of poetry titled, Going Fast.