In the Land of Fields by Domenic Scopa

The final time my babysitter sinned
was when he mapped a way,
and made forgiveness possible
for how his hips slammed into me.
If I could do it, he might also,
someday, wherever he strayed,
be so humble to forgive himself.

*

Wanting solitude,
longing for the simple loneliness of travel,
I said farewell and flew to Poland.
Descending, I looked down
at snow powdering fields,
and small towns,
each house with a steeple roof-
Then the scowling tarmac,
thump of touchdown…
Then nothing…
Still he followed,
and every woman I held close
felt like my captive.
Run away. Or don’t.
Most of my decisions have seemed wrong.

*

Once, at dusk, I strolled
the foggy streets of Warsaw,
the pavement puddled,
and reflecting,
and at that hour, alone,
I stopped hearing the sigh of traffic,
discussions, the racket
of winter wind lifting leaves
high above the sidewalk lamps.

When I heard my nephew was born,
I thought, how noisy
this world must be for him,
how mortal.
That night, to spite a missing person,
I refused to listen
to the sound of cathedral bells…
to spite a missing person…
To be honest, I was still attached.
My babysitter died and I was still attached.
It seems so strange to say it
quite like that-
But how else can I say it?

*

When I wake up,
I confront the mirror,
press the safety razor to my skin.
I uproot a breath.
My body craves to hold,
and be held.
Because there are faces
I may never see again,
I must say
there are two things about darkness
and what it does to us-
Her bright, hooker eyes
when I flicked the light switch off,
how the pupils constricted
as if in blind faith,

and my babysitter closing
the closet door,
shadowed and speechless.

Domenic Scopa is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His poetry and translations have been featured in Poetry Quarterly, Reed Magazine, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Belleville Park Pages, and many others. He is currently an adjunct professor for the Changing Lives Through Literature program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is also a copyeditor for The Tishman Review and a manuscript reader for Hunger Mountain.  

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