Marc Harshman 


With No Questions

A steady sheet of rain is slipping through the woods,
      apple blossoms plastering the ground, the last snow, our first sorrow.
The gentle rush of the creek will be both dirge and lullaby.
A barred owl stutters deep within the beech grove.
My tea is cooling where it sits on the windowsill.  
The rain lifts its last skirts over the ridge and leaves a dripping quiet in its wake.

Suddenly, a tableau of four deer within the settling fog.
My dog barks now, belatedly, once, twice
      to let me know they’re there – none of us very excited
      though the beauty of it, of them, still slows
      the reach of my hand for that solitary cup.

Meadow grass is dangling from one of their mouths, a damp, green bouquet.
When I stumble, drawing closer, their match-stick legs
      ferry them effortlessly down the rocky bank,
      their taupe velvet flanks soft as kisses, tough as weathered callous, 
      their black eyes, their black noses, every part marvelously balanced.  

They’ve stopped now inside some pocket of quiet below me.
We are all listening, each to the other,
     waiting for the next move in the universe.
     And just here becomes the only place
     I know where time surrenders to itself
     and reverses what I think I know.  

My tea is cold.  The dog asleep.  The rain gone.  
And somewhere the owl is sliding the silence into the hidden trees
               of a deeper night with no questions about philosophy, 
               with no questions at all. 


Marc Harshman is poet laureate of West Virginia. His full-length poetry collection is Green-silver and Silent (Bottom Dog, 2012), and his four chapbooks include All That Feeds Us (Quarrier Press, 2013). He has published work in The Georgia Review, The Progressive, Appalachian Heritage, Poetry Salzburg Review, Emerson Review, and Shenandoah. Harshman has authored 11 children’s books include The Storm, a Smithsonian Notable Book, and three new children’s titles are forthcoming.


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