New Life

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From the fields of a calendar, its snow

packed firmly into squares, I farmed you.

      Following some paperwork you shipped west

      and I flew home economy.

            An interval like summer passed before a van found my house

            and tilted you off the dolly.

 

Tucked behind hedges and twilight, with a screwdriver

I pried the lid and under

      petals of bubble wrap

      your eyes open,

            blue as an infant’s

            and equally foreign.

 

That your English came back as fast

as it did was more than anyone could’ve asked.

      You soon made friends

      just as I’d predicted.

            You sleep in the spare room—no closet or chair

            but a window onto something green and unconflicted.

 

Afternoons were tennis, sandwiches,

and drills recalling the yellow bike, the seven stitches.

      I knew it tired you.

      Mustn’t overdo it.

            Your memory worked pretty well

            considering the mirror time put to it.

 

In thinking back you’ll try to invent

a future: you see us growing ancient,

      say, twenty-nine, translated

      into dad’s shirts and ties.

            It’s the past, when brother and sister

            were all footsoles and eyes

                    together in a wood as steep as the Tyrol

                    that looms up unannounced, always a surprise.

Jana Prikryl, a senior editor at the New York Review of Books, is the author of the poetry collection, The After Party.

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