The Wind Breaks Up Whatever Light Happens to Fall

Shawn Fawson

Each October bow-hunters used to cut across our corner lot on their way up the deer trail. They’d nod to us in their laced-up boots and strapped-on arrows. A few hours later we’d see them climbing the ridge above the spruces. Once we read Darwin’s entire history before the hunters came back down. Another time we read about handcarts carrying away Rome’s broken tombs andtalked about atmospheres thick as jewels when Newton calculated strong forces like the moon’s pushing of a gull’s wings down into a fossil’s imprint. One summer we saw the oceans’ flash between fireflies, how the universe expanded, and later you remarked that the light itself was a pilgrimage to coffins lost at sea. And yet to shoot a thing is not to prevail over it; it is more the opposite, more like a hidden dependency by which the deer completes the hunter. Likewise, a mind despises what it cannot control and by which it will in turn be destroyed. By day Charles Darwin cleared the snow’s path curving out of sight behind him. He kept the ice in the carriage grooves. By night, Emma Darwin listened over rows of brittle stems for the remote sledge drawing closer. Later in the wind they heard horses gallop through the light of an afternoon closing in between them. What was your word? Prison, meaning manes slipped through the narrow line of elms. 

SHAWN FAWSON resides with her family in Denver, Colorado, where she works as a hospital chaplain. Her book “Giving Way” won the Library of Poetry Book Award and was published by The Bitter Oleander Press in 2010. Her MFA is from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.