Rosemary Starace



I Found I Had Neglected Thirst

for B.G.

And so,
under the nightstand,
next to my ear,
a porcelain bowl,
full as the moon,
set down.

And thirst came
a hundred times
to the night’s kindness,
tapping its rapid and delicate code,
a lullaby of tongues.

Just that day wild turkeys
had come pecking to your winter yard.
You phoned me, your voice was crackling,
you were glad-handing seed from your doorstep—
and into the absurdity of the telephone
clipped to your breast,
you let them coo for me
their long hunger.

Years before, we’d listened in
on what the healer called
a spirit wind
coursing through a woman’s heart.
It made a sound like the moon intoning!
It was then I flushed
with the permanent fullness
of this lifetime’s longing.

And once, I tell you, lost in mountains,
I slept on the path desire followed.
And the deer came leaping over me
to the near stream and drank all night
of that gleaming moon-chamber.

And in the night, too, Jesus came,
whom I don’t know, and he told me
there was nothing
that he brought to save us
but his thirst.




"I Found I Had Neglected Thirst" first appeared in the fine press, limited edition chapbook, Mountain Vows (Elephant Tree House, 2009).



Rosemary Starace lives, writes, and makes art in Pittsfield, MA, USA. She is author of the chapbooks, Requitements and Mountain Vows (both from Elephant Tree House), and co-editor, with Moira Richards and Lesley Wheeler, of Letters to the World: Poems from the Wom-po Listserv (Red Hen Press). Individual poems have appeared or are upcoming in Orion, Lake: A Journal of Arts and Environment, qarrtsiluni, Studio, Umbrella, and other venues. More of Starace's writing and visual art can be seen at her website,