Terri Drake


How the vines gone dormant are an absence
& absence is the ranch burned to its foundation
& the foundation equates to what you were made of
& no matter how crafted the line or how fervent
you are not coming back & the rains return every winter
regardless & the ghost house recedes become backdrop
leaves a path through the coastal scrub
a scar on the satellite pictures as though scars
were all there were to make a path of
& how fog is also an absence a blotting
as if it knew nevertheless I would have to go on
& how there are always complicities & complexities
& how the generations are both legacy & scar
& how water & commerce conspire
to make of your estate a ruined kingdom
& how the solar panels & the sun were a successful radiation
& how you returned when the cancer trial failed
& how flight was something you reluctantly acceded to the birds
& from your window you heard the northern flicker woodpecker
jackhammering the ground for fruit & seeds
how they nest in the cavity of dead wood
in the black oak & pronounce their territory loudly
& how you live on barely making a sound
& how I long for that cold January evening
on Atlas Peak in pouring rain we stood
looking for the clouded-out stars
while the fog settled down below
and the coyotes howled across the valley
as they do when they are calling their loved ones home.


Terri Drake is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her poetry collection, “At the Seams” was published by Bear Star Press. She has a chapbook forthcoming, “Regarding Us,” from Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared or have been accepted for publication in Crab Creek Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Poets Reading the New, Quarry West, Perihelion, Heartwood Literary Magazine, and Open: Journal of Art and Letters, among others. She is a practicing psychoanalyst living in Santa Cruz, California.


Back to Table of Contents