Two Poems

Lynne Knight

In a Time of Mourning

After the rain had fallen through her skin
night and day for a month whose name
was washed away, she began to swim
from her body like dreams she had lost

years ago, and nothing impeded her,
she slid through barbed wire fences,
climbed slick rock faces, kept
going through caves where light

would have seemed a grotesque eruption
from dank wall or floor. She forgot all
the words she'd been stuck in:
Desire. Betrayal. Ambition.

Reeds gave way for her, she slipped
over roads like streams. She was being
washed clean. She swam until houses
fell through her hands like water,

until horses and dogs shook wings
and carried her dead to high ground.
It never seemed like prayer. The earth
was mostly water, and she swam.

A Death

People say there are no words
for it, and wait for the silence
to open like a lotus in black water.

Rarely, it does. More often there
are only the tightly bound petals,
the water-bound roots. And when

deer come and dip their heads
to the pond, flowering or not
the lotus drifts, as the spirit is said

to drift, but never far from those
who would know its face anywhere.

Lynne Knight’s

. . . first collection, Dissolving Borders, won a Quarterly Review of Literature prize in 1996; her second, The Book of Common Betrayals, won the Dorothy Brunsman Award from Bear Star Press in 2002. She lives in Berkeley and teaches writing at two Bay Area community colleges.