‘England, or the continent I had in mind when I came here’ by Éireann Lorsung

England, or the continent I had in mind when I came here
for Caroline

Every bird is a sister of mine—can you believe
I never saw horses running
          before I came to this island,
and nothing but their own good sense keeps them
from falling into the ocean?
                    At the edge of your country
    along traintracks that run from Devon
to Cornwall, someone
    set up a howl and it’s been going
       longer than we remember,
             or our mothers
remember, or their mothers.
Where else could a woman turn
into flowering rosebush? All
so peripheral, the crooked edges maps show—
    the limit is sensate here
       where I can never travel all night
and the next day—
          what brings me is what bound you,
a piece of cloth in tatting thread and colors
I found here—loosestrife, sorrel, the guelder rose,
wood anemone—a tapestry
          barring girlhood to one
field, long stripe of a neighbor’s plow turning
land just over the woven branches: earth
to earth.
    The sandwich cart rattles by, you stack
cups on a tray. Meanwhile, unobtrusively, the air
diffuses particles, the sky is pinked.
This earth. This shining in the sea.
(first published online as a winning poem in the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize; also published in Her Book)
Éireann Lorsung is the author of Music For Landing Planes By (2007) and Her Book (August 2013), both from Milkweed. Other work appears or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Burnside Review, Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Two Serious Ladies, The Collagist, and Bluestem. She edits 111O and co-runs MIEL, a micropress.