For Begonia
Sarah Levine


My God is dead. My furious big veined puppy. Quiet as soap. Soap mothers use to soap mothers. Beside river where ant buries sister and children's knees grow thinner than apple stems.

I am a terrible swimmer. All elbows and lungs. But you, forearms swifter than slide trombones, are song. Sweet boned Begonia. Wet yellow braid caught in wind. I know your noise. Belly full of fish.

I feel sorry for my shirts. Mother sewed my name into each one. On the tag. Herman. Herman. Her man. Could I be? Could I sew my name into your pocket? Let my fingers brood and gasp.

I am jealous of the air between your knees. The dropped stitch on your hem. The geese squawk like donkeys and you turn toward them and their bugle throats, mesmerized by the unrehearsed choir of wings.


I will pluck geese from the sky. Knock kneed in fields of mint and pepper. In rain when bones become spoons, a throb song. When the wings are quiet and smell of blown out candles. And you will kneel, feet bare, a wet prayer folding from your lips.

 What is worth opening a mouth for? My cruel reminder of need. The honeydew, the flame. Enough breath to rustle flags. Let the shoe nearly sit. Let my lips listen into the shell of your ear. Bony roads scattered with elms and white churches.


It is still raining and the geese are still silent and mother here is Begonia. A beginning, a beckoning. Hair in knots, world in mouth. A river cold full of stubborn fish.