poem index

Leavings

Robin Robertson

Still sleepwalking through her life,
I wrap her up
and we go through the snow that fell all night
and all through this Christmas morning:
her trainers barely denting the whitened lawn, her
two strides for every stride of mine.

Leaving her home
to the warmth of the house
I step back out, and see where my footprints turn
and walk through hers,
the other way—following the trail
of rabbit and deer into the unreachable silences of snow.
I can bring nothing of this back intact.
My face is smoke, my body water,
my tracks are made of snow.

The next morning is a dripping thaw, and winter
is gone from the grass—except for a line
of white marks going nowhere:
the stamped ellipses of impacted snow;
everything gone, leaving just this, this ghost-tread,
these wafer-thin footsteps of glass.

Used with permission by Harcourt, Copyright 2006.

Robin Robertson

by this poet

poem

The slow-grained slide to embed the blade 
of the key is a sheathing,
a gliding on graphite, pushing inside
to find the ribs of the lock.

Sunk home, the true key slots to its matrix;
geared, tight-fitting, they turn
together, shooting the spring-lock,
throwing the
poem
after Baudelaire
The men would sometimes try to catch one,
throwing a looped wire at the great white cross
that tracked their every turn, gliding over their deep
gulfs and bitter waves: the bright pacific albatross.

Now, with a cardboard sign around his neck, the king
of the