John Repp


I keep an ottoman in my heart exclusively for you.

You come so seldom.
Your aroma
stays long after.
                              How exact
absence is.
                    Breathe in it
the yes that gives way.

Circles fleck the lake
as lavender, eggshell blue,
a just visible scarlet fade from the sky—
                                                            a breeze
wrinkles the water—
                                   a whistle,
a bell—
          ovals of feeding—
like mice scrabble, rest—
                                        lamplight there
and there.



This is one of a suite of poems written under the spell of Emily Dickinson's late, inexhaustible, utterly hermetic letters. The title is a sentence from one of them.