Arriving

Linda Gregg

What do they say about the land of the dead?
About the ceremony of the body?
About women in long dresses?
What do they say about the innocence of the flesh?
What about the endeavor in nature
at ease with the dance and music?
Long ago, beyond graves, are worlds in state.
Each city still there in ruin. The neck of the ibex.
Walled gardens surrounded by desert.
Imagined lions guarding the gate.
All as it was before.
Worlds out of time still exist.
Worlds of achievement out of mind and remembering,
just as the poem lasts.
In the concert of being present.
I have lost my lover and my youth.
I want to praise the meadow, the horse
rolling over in the river with me
as a girl underneath it. Surviving to see
the ferns in the woods, sunlight on blond hills.
And the aged apple trees
in a valley where there used to be a cabin.
Where someone lived. And where small uneatable apples
grow. That the deer will eat.
© 2008 University of North Carolina Greensboro
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LINDA GREGG won the 2006 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. She is the author of six collections: In the Middle Distance, Things and Flesh, Chosen by the Lion, The Sacraments of Desire, Alma, and Too Bright to See. Her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Literary Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in New York City.