Farryl Last

The Ancients Who Hadn’t the Fridge Brew Poison

I was not banished, I came here. The dark dims the outline of houses, kitchens, trees. Nightfall:
Drowsy from dinner in the next room you prepare the bed. Birds strain, then settle, against
the summer air; like small fists the flowers close. One by one stars ignite. And I

sit at the long table, alone, a basket clamped between my knees. How thick the seeds, gathered
before the dawn. How strange, how beautiful what brings the deepest sleep. You set out across
the yellow fields, so from your feet the world grows smaller,

the too-ripe berries, the oleander grasping the horizon. Tub of water, lick of fire,
gathered poison at my feet: closed eyes I picture the sun growing
colder as the night does, switched off, as your feet beneath the sheets.

Didn’t I come here? A moment before at the long table, eating, having eaten fruits of the earth,
fruits of the sea, having cast your eyes from my pale hands to the window, having left me
at the table, you in the next room, counting your buttons, the oleander wags its branches

at the window. A blanket breeze, then stillness. I know how the night will go, it will go
as always: shadow of the mountain, dreams of a poison cloud. At the long table, I watched
branches beckoning the inside of the house, with all its pots and napkins. And me,

shivering in the kitchen, bare feet pushed barer against the cold floor, filled
with legumes, filled with nothing, filling the basket at my feet—
Out the window I pour.

 

Farryl Last is a 2015 MFA graduate from Hunter College, where she now teaches. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Entropy, great weather for MEDIA, Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal, HOOT, The Intentional, and Poetry City, USA, among others. She once lived in Mantua, Italy, and taught English there.