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All day I had spoken to no one,
not even myself. A quietude
not the same as silence.

Bird song, cricket drone,
broom sweeping the porch
of leaves and petals.

No trouble had brought me there,
only hunger for stillness.
Some reckoning long overdue.

Watching the sun shift
light and shadows, I knew
how much I had missed.

Smoothing a quilt and pillows,
pulling good beans from vines,
turning under those swollen with seeds.

No need to perform the role
of myself. No need
to teach or convince.

To feel the earth whole
is sometimes as simple as this.

Wedding Ring

The first, lost in our garden’s mulch.
The next, cracked clean through
at its weakest point.

I yearned for another but knew
by then its cost: men driven
underground to break

the earth, and thereby break
themselves. Their labor
and their lives held cheap.

I looked at want and need
and questioned both.
Perhaps an old ring, relic

of another marriage, would
suffice, its gold at least
mined by lives already lost.

Yet how long I would need
to search—time I could kneel
beside you, planting seeds.

Time I could lay my head
full of intangible memories
against your heart.

Mary Makofske’s latest books are World Enough, and Time (Kelsay, 2017) and Traction (Ashland, 2011), the Snyder Prize winner. Her poems have appeared recently in American Journal of Poetry, Poetry East, Southern Poetry Review, and Antiphon. In 2017, her poems placed first in Atlanta Review and New Millennium contests.