Rita Dove


He’s tucked his feet into corduroy scuffs
and gone out to the porch. From the parlor
with its glassed butterflies, the mandolin on the wall, 
she can see one bare heel bobbing.

Years ago he had promised to take her to Chicago.
He was lovely then, a pigeon
whose pulse could be seen when the moment
was perfectly still. In the house

the dark rises and whirrs like a loom.
She stands by the davenport,
obedient among her trinkets,
secrets like birdsong in the air.