Laura Villareal

Aubade With Cucumber Beetles

You wake with an ocean heave
as the sun salts the field.!10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! Yesterday we handpicked
cucumber beetles away from the silk

on corn stalks, releasing them into the blue
foam brimmed jug.!10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! Wet-winged
eyelashes against your cheek until sleep swells you again.

Each beetle a yellow boat, sinking.
We won’t catch them again,!10! !10! !10! !10! !10!!10! never like this, once the marigolds bloom.
These yellow aches, a split stalk.

I can do better
when I tend to you,!10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10!!10!!10! my beloved.
You calm after calling out like a seabed
offers nothing particular.

Every wave crashing is an undertow
inescapably yours. !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! You fear death
even when the lullaby is a field,

a coyote-toothed song, a straight-line wind
that never comes.!10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10!!10! !10! !10! !10! In the mirror
the 7AM train whistles. My fear

resembles yours in periphery.
Permanent loss—!10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10! !10!!10! !10! a zero sum life,
yours, mine, & everyone we love’s.

But I turn to constellations,
their whole industry of order.!10! !10! !10! !10! !10!!10! All of this pre-mourning.
All this fear like mirrored landscapes without end.

Laura Villareal, a 2020-2021 Stadler Fellow, is the author of the poetry chapbook The Cartography of Sleep (Nostrovia! Press, 2018). Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Grist, AGNI, Black Warrior Review, Waxwing, and elsewhere.
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