“Enchanted One” and “On Loneliness”

“Enchanted One” and “On Loneliness”

Enchanted One

After reading “The Gazelle” by Rainer Maria Rilke

How can two words capture the magic of such a creature?

How can a name hold the essence of anything? I wonder, cradling

huckleberries from the bush, how to express the way my hands

are left a misty purple, how to tell my grandfather I will never feel

safer than with him, in this clearing in the forest.

Him, with a shining face downturned and silent, me, always with

my mind somewhere else. When we drove up the mountain and a deer

stopped in front of us, its eyes still and desperate, he turned down

the radio, put a hand on my shoulder. We watched it pass together.

What are the words for knowing you can never return to a place

the same as you were before? For him, I will try to find them:

homesick yearning, button coffee, gunpowder spoons.

On Loneliness

The long-gone best friend was an incense

fiend and I can still see her at the hearth

sending sweet smoke through her childhood

living room.

Above the couch a moose head

hangs with deadening dry eyes.

Her parents fight, so we collect soft

slime from hairbrush handles, suspend

it from the antlers, wait for someone

to notice. The dog barks, marches,

trails blood from his gauzed paw.

We’re about to sleep each in a different

La-Z-Boy, smoke still clawing

when she whispers

Everything is dying here.

About the Author

Emily Stout

Emily Stout is a poet and essayist from Washington state. She is currently pursuing an MFA at Sarah Lawrence College.