James Scannell McCormick

What I want back is...
Horses fluent in the wind,
A place, a time gone out of mind.

—Sylvia Plath

To the Carolinas weak rain brought me, or I the rain. Not that, either;
Nor, at Litchfield, the sea, slow wave-mane, surf-hoof, grazing at shore.

There, mornings, outside my bedroom door, I'll hear my name
From my cousin's lame boy. Little sponge, blue-eyed, I'm

Spooked, though neither did any water wholly swallow
Us, this time. But I fell dutifully sick—chills—against the sun over yellow

Pinehurst. Mostly the weather was bright, hot. Jays as I made
More coffee, black. Holly reached and stretched to trees. And my head

Wouldn't stop aching. I wouldn't write a word. So not the desmenses and
of Uncle's shake-sided house—new, gray—around

Which pines and spent rhododendrons, but a broke Catholic school's damp pasture,
With warm-bloods—slick-neck, clammy-pastern. Cropping. They were

Patience, purpose. Their belonging. And as I, slack,
Already forget them, I watch. What I wasn't: what I want back.