When I lay down.
When the apple trees dropped their fruit, became
barren shadows laid across the damp lawn.
When, on their own, the shadows moved.
When they did not move.
When my heart was a small turtle, deliberate, cautious.
When I was afraid of dark bright eyes.
When the self that I remembered spoke to no one,
When I was afraid of what was no longer there.
When I did not move.
When the red-winged blackbird chirred,
tall on a stem of bent grass,
rising and falling as the song lifted
and left him.
When I gave up needing to be right.
When I needed.
When I told you what I needed.
When you lay down.
Rebecca Ellis lives in southern Illinois. Her poems can be found in Bellevue Literary Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Naugatuck River Review, Sugar Mule, Sweet, Prairie Schooner, Natural Bridge, Adanna, RHINO, and Crab Creek Review. She is a Master Naturalist through the University of Illinois Extension Service.
Painting: “Where are You?”
Artist: Henry L. Jones
2019 – 16×20 inches – mixed media on canvas