At first you didn’t know me.
I was a shape moving rapidly, nervous
at the edge of your vision. A flat, high voice,
dark slash of hair across my cheekbone.
I made myself present, though never distinct.
Things I said that he repeated, a tone
you could hear, but never trace, in his voice.
Silence—followed by talk of other things.
When you would sit at your desk, I would creep
near you like a question. A thought would scurry
across the front of your mind. I’d be there,
ducking out of sight. You must have felt me
watching you, my small eyes fixed on your face,
the smile you wondered at, on the lips only.
The voice on the phone, quick and full of business.
All that you saw and heard and could not find
the center of, those days growing into years,
growing inside of you, out of reach, now with you
forever, in your house, in your garden, in corridors
of dream where I finally tell you my name.
Cynthia Huntington is the author of two books of poetry, The Fish-Wife (University of Hawaii Press, 1995) and We Have Gone to the Beach (Alice James Books, 1996), and a prose memoir, The Salt House (Macmillan, 1999). Recent poems have appeared in Ploughshares, The Massachusetts Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, The Harvard Review, and Tri Quarterly. Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Dartmouth College, she also teaches in the MFA Writing Program at Vermont College. (2001)