The Wild Boy

by Jennifer Crow

(for my wild boy)

He came with the autumn winds,
blown to our door brown as a leaf
and rich with the scent
of summer's last berries.
When the geese flew over
he lifted his sharp chin
to the sky and called them down--
we took one for the harvest feast
and he wept into its blood-sodden feathers.
Winter came--he made patterns
with his breath on the glass
and shucked off his boots
when we weren't watching.
He put mittens on the dog's paws
and sneaked sips of hard cider
from the jug my man kept
in the pantry. I baked for him
until the scent of cinnamon
and yeast filled the house,
until the table groaned.
He ate in silence, everything I gave
and more. He never spoke,
but when the sorrow was on him
he took my hand and leaned
into my shoulder, his eyes distant.
With the spring, he was gone
one pale green morning,
his last message
a knife thrust into half a loaf of bread.

If Shakespeare and Sappho had a poetry cage-match, Jennifer Crow suspects they'd end up trading couplets about dark, beautiful women. Neither dark nor aesthetically pleasing, Jennifer hides in a cave near a waterfall and scribbles poetry on birch leaves.