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About this Poem 

"This poem is from a series I'm writing about the final days of utopic communities and cults. In this case, I'd been reading the diary of a member of the Oneida Community. They attempted to practice a form of sexual, affective, and material communism."
—Joe Hall

UTOPIA: Love as Free as a Fountain

Joe Hall

How could the news come?
We drove with my second cousins to
The orchards at the feet of the Catskills.

We cut three names into a tree.
And when I burned my wrist in the cannery
So badly it began to bubble,

You were there with a bucket of cold water.
Among the tons of softening apples
You smelled like cinnamon burning. That night

I watched you play the piano with Jamie and Evan
Who were both, at some point, your lovers—
My heart in such a confusion,

Their bows drawing diagrams in the air,
This moment so close to prayer.

Copyright © 2013 by Joe Hall. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on July 26, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Joe Hall