Devil’s Lake

Spring 2010 Issue

Alison Stine: Home Remedy

We call it waves. There are moments

of waves. There are moments so strong

they overpower, insist. Everyone says

love changes, says this is not how it

always will be. And they are right.

Already it changes. Already the bay

at the door and the light switch has driven

some of the ants away. There was

a whirlpool mass, a pinwheel with a push

at its center, and now they are only

dribbling, black. Oh look, loops in the carpet

are alive. It works, the dusky green

fistful: each leaf shaped like a bee s wing,

shaped like an eye. We work intensely,

alone. It slows. And then it matters.

Youre driving me crazy, you write without

punctuation. I forget breath. Forget

a rib cage. Forget what it was like to wake up

to legs in the skillet, black shells flaking

as the bugs escape the switch. Home

remedy: a last resort. Peppermint oil

slicked across the cabinet like a snail s

train, and the bay, the small glass shaker

of leaves. You left it in the bedroom

after I was gone, a green line behind

the sink, a crumb way, a smell of Christmas

and woods, and aftershave you don t wear

but might, if I asked, hum beneath me

if I asked, pick me up if I asked,

like that, if I ask. We re at the stage

where I ve stopped expecting you to just

know. I am bold enough to ask. I love you

enough to ask. It s a raw smell, that wave.

a photo of the author, Alison Stine ALISON STINE’s first book of poems Ohio Violence won the Vassar Miller and was published in 2009. Her second book won the Brittingham Prize and will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2011. She has work forthcoming in The Kenyon Review and Shenandoah. More from this issue >