for rent.jpg



Love is finding you

the high-def, 3-D

organ printer, extra

cables, vessels, blood-

match program—

even if it means

internalizing gospels

of encrypted script

to deliver unto thee

the newest fangled,

bile-free, techno liver—

so I print out meat

in a dank, unfinished,



displacing the only

god I’ve ever known,


& frankly, dear, it stinks—

this meat, just like

the old meat did,

the kind we scalpeled

free from donors,

fresh-bled from their

own nostalgic wrecks.



Alone in the lights-out dining room, do you know that green wool coat

you’ve worn now thirteen days, once had a hole in the shoulder

seam, an acorn could fit through?


I’ve been meaning to say it is 75 degrees outside.

& to mend your coat for you.

I’ve been meaning to ask what you meant by The day was a disaster.


It is, after all, fall, in New Hampshire.


How like wounded eyes they look, the scarred parts of the river birch

rising long the road to the dining room—do they weep sap

where your arrows struck?


For thirteen dinners I’ve watched the shoulder-hole, its yawn expels

dusk, while ferns outside go gold, then pale, then, depleted

of water, they brittle & bronze—


they tell no jokes. I wonder what’s their equivalent of laughter.


It’s a coat I would buy in a thrift shop & wear, every day, like you, its faded

hue, at home with slouch—it resembles a childhood couch

where I passed afternoons reading


disposable books—I love that pages, once, were leaves.


Since you arrived, the dining room wine’s disappeared. The cook wonders

who crushed a cigarette on her gas stove each night,

her kitchen, closed.


I like how your laugh echoes in the chairs’ vacant shadows—I have heard

that voice before, spectral bird whose song is a rock

thrown down a well.


Have you noticed night coming on earlier?


Have you looked in a mirror? With just dinners between us, the shoulder

hole’s gash cuts round your arm. Your white shirt shows,

underneath, & you’ve un-showered.


I find them odd, the various maple, ash, sycamore trees—lit leaf-blaze

turned blue with night, how age gets stored in mythy rings.





I can’t remember when I took my own mirrors down, or last showered.

I keep expecting to wake up to snow, & not this summery weather, the way

I keep expecting you will not show for dinner—


then you don’t, or do.


Limbs fall on my way to the dining room, the truths: I’ve piles of favorite

clothes that need to be sewn, like my own mother’s basket

of half-sewn clothes—


I’m no match for a coat that’s that far gone, the dining room floor’s no fit

place to sit, at 2 am, red feathers get caught in the cedar.


You resemble me, somehow—you resemble my sister, caught, in the crush

& plunder of fall outside the dining room,


where the fisher cat’s cry sounds torn

to me, each time

she brings

a new



I am

eyes hid

in the dark

wood, now, but when I walk home,


alone, I bear your bow, I dwell deep

in your song.



JANE SPRINGER is the author of two collections of poetry, Dear Blackbird, (Agha Shahid Ali Prize, Univ. of Utah Press, 2007) and Murder Ballad (Beatrice Hawley Award, Alice James Books, 2012). Her honors include a Pushcart Prize, an NEA fellowship, and a Whiting Writers’ Award, among others. She lives in central New York, with her husband, son, and their three dogs, Leisure-Lee, A-Z, and Woofus.