Winters of the Girl of Speckled Cloth / Children and Boats

Girl-of-speckled-cloth-born winter.
Baby-pictured-in-the-blooming-yard winter.
Brother-who-plants-born winter.
Dream-floating-at-the-eaves winter.
Blocks-cut-from-maple-wood winter.
Brother-who-needed-new-blood-born winter.
Mother's-perfume winter.
Dad's-small-garden-in-the-fields winter.
Left-a-pear-orchard winter.

Children-burning-trash winter.
Falling-away-from-wishes winter.
Learned-there-was-war winter.
Walked-the-crumbling-bridge winter.
Ice-in-trees winter.
Loved-the-tall-boy winter.
Loved-the-tall-boy winter.
Loved-the-tall-boy winter.

Found-the-woman-of-patterned-sweaters winter.
Lived-with-strong-women winter.
Papers-set-afire winter.
Sewing winter.
Left-the-prairie winter.
Remembered-the-lost-boy winter.
Wore-a-thin-jacket winter.
Married-one-with-an-angry-father winter.
Lighted-room winter.

the beloved winter.
Baby-treads-frost-and-wind winter.
Husband-loves-another winter.
Our-love-doesn't-come-back-in-him winter.

In the love-doesn't-come-back winter, I met a child who wrote: "At night, these woods seem enchanted. Deer step out of the trees to feed near the blind. I can't get warm, watching them. What is in that shadow? You just have to be here. You just have to be here."
In the morning DEATH is a cardinal, the bird colored like the hat DEATH wears when he is a man. A child named John told me this.
I read Psalm 68: God gives the desolate a home to dwell in . . . to God belongs escape from death." In the love-doesn't-come-back winter, there were more hungry than before, and bombs were still falling on the farmed volcanoes of El Salvador. I met a solemn girl who recited a proverb about boats. I smelled the hair of children who were once carried onto those boats, out from Vietnam.
Imagine the beauty of God's boats, and birch canoes of the Ojibwe, who understood that the land did not belong to them. Songbird DEATH flies through the familiar line of cedars onshore, through the airy dreams of my beloved, who finds me no longer in his heart, over rafts of ice bloating away from 1955.