Moira Linehan: “The Late”


Late spring. Always late, a New England spring.

Even so, it’s mid-May before the small stand

of oaks in the wetlands I face begins

to leaf out. Even then, though, the late first leafings,

limp and wilted-looking, their green washed out.

Yet by summer those oaks will shade my rooms

that face west. Summer sunsets, then at the most

northern end of the western sky, will be out

of my sightline. Still, those sunsets’ dying rays—

peonies’ pink shades, darkening mauves, bursts

of squeezed oranges—like dyes brushed on wet silk—

will bleed back, seep through the leafed-out canopy

before me, the last late-leaving light, lingering.

Moira Linehan is a past contributor to Valparaiso Poetry Review. She is the author of two collections of poetry, both published by Southern Illinois University Press: If No Moon and Incarnate Grace.

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