Dear _________ , by Beatrix Gates

                                 for Adrienne Rich

I thought (of you)   all the time
        how we carry the day, drag all of it
    with us in wet nets
  along the studded rocky shore

Some look up   some don’t   as they dig

   from the East
   fire    blackened, always at the edge of your eye
       and bell of night.
   from Orion   :   and the One bright above in the Northeast
   the chunky brilliance
       flowing garment of the Milky Way
                    partial palm print on my window

How you believed in the sky at the end, held the cracked
cracked brilliance in your bones   galaxies seeing from another   fearless eye head   unturning

Yesterday      honoring you, night seeker who loved
        trailing stars and hard ground
   the journey between: dream kept breaking, right up to the high water mark
handsome sky ablaze down to the treetops    forehead with stark writing across
crabbed bones   becoming all bone and ready to heave it all
        off the edge    into the fire belt of stars

Beatrix Gates’ collections include In the Open and Ten Minutes. She shared a Witter Bynner Translation Award with Electa Arenal for The Poems of Vikram Babu by Jesús Aguado (HOST). As librettist, Gates received support with composer Anna Dembska from the NEA for “The Singing Bridge” which premiered in 2005.