With Ribbon As Black As the Sky

By Annette Marie Hyder
“What Leaves Do At Night”, EP Version
(For M)

The stars blaze with a wonderful fire
that warms the night
as owls hang-glide
the shadows
and black walnut leaves shake in the wind
who is to say they’re not dancing?

I think of a night in a park on a bench —
and the light falling kisses of rain
“Maybe 13 drops, but six for sure!” you said,
how I liked your specificity
how you talked about:
“cloud cover”
and “rain”
and “the stars behind the clouds”
and “how the wind shakes the branches
of the black walnut trees”

into making shadows that played
“beneath amber streetlights”
that shone on “that old pine tree
with feathered wing branches
that hang like the ones in a movie”

(listening to you talk, sometimes,
hearing your joy in the things around you
is like listening to poetry for me)

and a deer — summoned
by my talk of gazelles sprinting up mountains —
made her appearance too
in that  small park in the middle
of an industrial neighborhood
where I laid on a bench with my head in your lap
and tied your hand to my heart
with ribbon as black as the sky that night,
with ribbon beautifully black as the sky