Poem | The Time to Ask Questions Has Passed

(Vaye Dris/Unsplash)

Sunset, and the rains are over. Stout birds sing.
There are no children here and none visit.
The body is its own quarry. An eye
turns inward, notes of Bach fly alone.
A contagious spring reigns in the garden.
Crescendo of purple clouds, lime green leaflets,
bawdy weather unsuited to the mood.
Soon, in the dark, the old depression
lifts. Leo Tolstoy’s Nikita
wakes in the sleigh beneath his master
to live twenty more years as laborer.
To measure with his steps how many straws
it takes to warm a horse in winter.
Three toes gone from each foot, still he walks.

Published in the May 2022 issue: 
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Judith Skillman is the author of twenty full-length collections. Her poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, Threepenny Review, Zyzzyva, and other literary journals. A recipient of awards from Academy of American Poets and Artist Trust, Skillman’s recent collection is A Landscaped Garden for the Addict (Shanti Arts, 2021). She is an editor of When Home Is Not Safe: Writings on Domestic Verbal, Emotional and Physical Abuse (McFarland). Visit www.judithskillman.com.

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