The Morning After

by Diane Lockward

The sun wasn’t where it was supposed to be,
wasn’t up when it should have been up,
Transparentand couldn’t have been down—
Transparenttoo early for that,

early enough that the goldfinches
should have been singing
Transparentand they were there perched
Transparentin the evergreens but not

singing, not flying beneath the blue sky,
the sky so blue it must have been morning
Transparentand the doves, as if to prove they knew
Transparentwhat mourning meant, stopped

cooing. She was still breathing,
alive to the wind, the cold on her skin,
Transparentcold yet summer still.
TransparentAnd the roses, in aftershock, froze

their petals and silenced the bees
and beetles in the pistils. No buzzing now
Transparentas they circled her head,
Transparentand above her no sun, no heat, no song

from the birds, no attar in the air, and what,
she wondered, had happened to the sun,
Transparentthe reliable sun that never failed
Transparentto show up, but today hadn’t

shown up, leaving her
like the woman who reaches for a peach
Transparentbut finds only an empty branch,
Transparentthe tree barren, the sun gone from the sky.

Diane Lockward is the author of The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop and three poetry books, most recently Temptation by Water. Her previous books are What Feeds Us, which received the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, and Eve’s Red Dress. Her poems have been included in such journals as Harvard Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Gwarlingo, and The Writer’s Almanac.