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What They Had Come For

by Paula Closson Buck

It is no contest of strength or endurance.
The white butterfly flaps, like a pair of pillowcases
in a breeze, around the sparrow—
flaps fondly as if the world were all about
beauty or friendship. He hops as sparrows do—
hops, dancing, near her, isolate on the roof.
Of an overcast day, they are the soul.
Or she is the soul, in her white robes.
He, the body in monkish brown, levitates
like so, like so. He does not need to spread his wings
to devour her. One petal of her floats
gracefully above and away, as if she had merely
misunderstood this dancing
that seemed it was what they had come for.


Paula Closson Buck’s second book of poems, Litanies Near Water, is due out from Louisiana State University Press in spring 2008. Individual poems from the manuscript have appeared in AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Gettysburg Review, Laurel Review, Southern Review, Shenandoah, and other magazines. Closson Buck edits West Branch and teaches creative writing at Bucknell University. (2/2008)

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