Friday, October 29, 2010

in the year you left

Credit for the inspiration goes to Christopher.

In the year you left

You thought you kept them hidden,
those confused thoughts of yours,
as you tried to walk dignified
out of my life and away
down the street. You tuned out
my bitter laugh as I read through
your bluster to see
you so flustered. I knew then
just how well my game had worked,
how clearly I had won
the final prize of my own
dry, empty heart.
Come back, I thought,
but the chance for tenderness
had passed, and now
my hand lay still, the chill
creeping slowly across its palm.

Rachel Westfall
October 29, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just look

I had a little fun with a Halloween word (spectre) as well as a word lifted off my daughter's spelling list (hungry). Here is the result.

Just look
Just look at how
a month slid by bare-boned,
slim as a solitary chickadee
beaking rain-swelled remnants
from the miserly cracks
in the feeder.
This is no time
for golden shoes, for hair
piled high then tumbling down
in gleaming rivulets, for the
laughter and the dance.
These are hungry hours,
their edges worried, frayed
by the anxious, wringing grip
of the grim, anorexic spectre
of tomorrow.
Rachel Westfall
October 27, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010


(First posted here)

There’s that postcard of you,
the small dancing hairs
on your neck like you had
as a baby, and that bead
of sweat, running
just down below the collar.
I slice my tongue
along its worried edge,
and it tastes like rain.

Rachel Westfall
October 15, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back at the house

You sit heavy at the kitchen table
shoulders rounded.
A rough cough, nothing to say yet.
I put the steaming mug of tea beside your hand
where it sits untouched until it’s cold as whiskey.
I cut down the apple tree, you tell me.
It’s all firewood now.
My envy pulls sharp at your wallow of grief,
at the depth of your sorrow
for her errant tangle of mistletoe hair,
her limbs all askew in the field.

Rachel Westfall
October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Your ugly truth

You told me of love
and of blind regret as you swung
the axe deep
into my heartwood core
stirring clouds of summer dust
and moths, rising groggily
blinking away the tattered shreds
of their precious noonday sleep.
Only I saw you place
a kiss
on the perfectly honed tip
of the iron blade before
you swung, betraying
your ugly truth
your harsh allegiance
to the ravenous spark
of the fire mage.
Rachel Westfall
October 10, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The apple tree's lament

Your flame enfolds me with
its acid tongue, its cinnabar breath
a foreign curse hissing
far too late of the recklessness
of heartwood love, of rooted longing
for so fickle a fire-mage
as my one, my own beloved
stone man, my green man,
my dear beloved woodsman.

Rachel Westfall
October 9, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010


You swing your axe and cleave me
fresh in two, smooth hardwood grown
in loving increments
with each rough-handled bucket of water,
each late-summer visit
from the rust-brown pruner’s saw. Those days
I longed for you to come, to lay cool hands
on callused bark and climb to sit
in the throne of my limbs, to wear
the crown I wove for you
from fistfuls of cyanide leaves.
I made you apples, divine fruits
their skins waxy-rough, each sweet
yellowed orb my child, my gift,
each gift of sublime splendour.
You swing your axe and cleave me
fresh in two, distracted now
by thoughts of frost, of bringing in the harvest.
Rachel Westfall
October 7, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The day you lost my name

I was sleek, limbs fresh
and soft as wax
newly emerged
when you first drew me up
in a long embrace
and spoke
my true name in my ear.
You told me I was real,
grew me lean and strong
to run colt-limbed
across the sand, the wind
stroking long ripples
through my hair.
You say you do not know me
now, you say
you’ve lost my name.
Without your hands,
your breath, your hawk’s whisper
I have no name at all.
Rachel Westfall
October 4, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010


Something froze on the shore
etched in lines
scratched by feet of the passing gulls
cast in red-gold rays
of the sudden dawn startling night’s chill
scuttling back to a huddled place
under rocks, in the cool moist dens
of the red-backed crabs
Something froze
on the shore in the salt-tinged sand
where the wind braided hair
and summer freckles smiled
as we combed
tidal pools to fill our treasure chests
Something froze
and I’ve lost your name
Rachel Westfall
October 4, 2010