Blue Oat Grass Epithalamium by Cecily Parks


Before we knew each other, blue oat grass
grew all around us, filling with soft spears
the spaces between our fingers, between

our ribs and out-flung arms. The grass gently
separated our legs. We lived like this.
In the blue-blade woods we made by resting

on our backs in the meadow, we echoed
the dwarf blue spruce and the blue juniper.
We were too tired to look for anything

but the ceremonies of ebullient
clouds. Had one of us turned to find the other
lying there in grass, breathing deep enough

to grow a field in the lung, then the clouds
might have married us in a white riot.
Because we didn’t look for each other,

the stones crept up out of the dry phantom
of a river to bury us. We were
tired. We let them. In the river’s blue dream,

loneliness flooded us with honey
and slush, a current mineral-thick with what
it had stripped from the mountains. Every

afternoon an uprising of ravens.
A wolf was a day of the year. The stones
promised to be our weather until

we found the love that would grant more than afterlife:
it would require us to live. We lived
like this: we ate the stones, wetting them

with our mouths so they would raft down our throats
without disturbing the fields in our lungs.
Our breathing was the blue oat grass breathing

through us with rasp enough to wake the river
from its dream of water. Like water,
the grass pushed blue against the undersides

of the stones and split them. We were made
of meadow and will. With the strength we’d saved for
eternity, we turned to face each other.
Blue oat grass lay down between us to let us look.
Cecily Parks is the author of the chapbook Cold Work and the collection Field Folly Snow, which was a finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award. Her second collection, O’Nights, will be published by Alice James Books in April. She teaches at Texas State University.