The sky steeling itself
against the willow
as the rain comes in

would be beautiful
if it were a painting
if I were not tired in it

if I were not worried in it
a willow’s colors shaking
into the river would be

brushwork if she were not
a riddle in it, if we were not
center rib in swallow

trying to see what took us in.
The experts in my ear
and milk a lightning strike

so each flash hurts, feeds
like fish seized in a beak
from that sashaying water.

My closet still full
of a shy girl’s teal, who am I
to hold off the whole future?

I am a mother, awake
with her. Before, I slept
and arose by any other name.


Katie Umans

Sara DilliplaneReflecting Two (photograph)