Sometimes, after the last snow in May,
after the red-winged blackbird clutches the spine
of the cattail, after he leans forward, droops
his wings, and flashes his epaulets, I imagine
shouldering the yellow center lines of the road.
Near the recently thawed pond, within a long
channel of construction, a man holding a sign.
One side says slow, the other stop.
Joy and sorrow always run like parallel lines.
Inside the house, when I leave the lights on,
small white moths come like a collection of worship,
pulsing their wings up and up the window,
as if a frenzied trancelike dance,
some dervishes, the others penitent on shaky knees.
The first few years after my husband’s suicide
I wanted to the penitent.
I thought I deserved all the pain I could feel.
The drill of roadwork in late summer
was a welcome grinding music.
Now the yellow center lines are flung like braids behind me.
by Didi Jackson
(as seen in The New Yorker, October 2, 2017 )