Hearth
by Brenda Shaughnessy

copyright © 2012 by Brenda Shaughnessy

Love comes from ferocious love
or a ferocious lack of love, child.

A to and a from, and an urgency,
a barefoot sprint in the high snow

for the only sagging shack in sight.
No doctor runs through the winter

woods at midnight to bring placebo.
But when he does it’s just too late –

the house all fevered, grief the very
gifts of milk and stew and hearth

offered anyhow. How many tree
limbs are amputated by the self-

important sudden surgery of a gale –
those same limbs tortured further,

re-galed, as spirit-dancing fire?
But the trees don’t experience it

the way it seems to me, like how
all that individual snow clumps

together because it is lonely
and trusts its kind. To be home

is to go somewhere, is velocity,
the same urgent comfort

of your name. You’ll lack nothing,
child, and I will never let you go.