cynthia hogue

the ecology of the disappeared, by cynthia hogue

After months of study and debris
leaders inebriated with the findings
lose faith. They criss-cross the land like pollen, hovering,
wavering: Are we rooted yet? Are we grown?
Everyone sighs as the possible sweeps past the clutter.

It’s tragic, carrying seeds of hope when whole forests
wilt cacophonously
and drought reigns. Tensions rise like welts, red black and blue
reasons bobbing about like parti-colored helium balloons.

We found the gash right away.
The Colonel wept: his wife had called
demanding he tell the truth or she’d jump with their child.
Once I, too, rushed from a plane believing
I’d meet my love resplendent in furs, with open, rendez-vous arms.

But truly he could not speak.
She stood on the brink, impractical, needless
as exterminating nature because the white-tailed deer
breed ticks and taxpayers
protest. For a time, so deft at denying,

he convinced her the chasm a ditch and the road long
since overgrown with red oak and sweet gum.
Gummy saplings edged with sticky broomstick pine.
The wide blue air of the wild blue sky.

To be sad today and not to be able to
said at all. This disjuncture
of voice and memory, the something pure
like love past heat past letting know.

What was not done undoes when lovers face
each other’s loss. But yelled at me
you never, no nothing you said you see
I am. I’d have liked to erase

the figure of the woman, with you to say
like Nietzsche that she was truth was
lies and circumstance and always as
I was not. I couldn’t one way

or another imagine you. What was your
harbor. Haven. Where you flowered for.

—  Cynthia Hogue, The Suicide Sonnet (for Knud-Erik Holme Pedersen, 1953–1982)