We might be sisters, she whispered.
The lines of our bodies were as empty
as the priest’s gesture, wiping
the chalice’s lip with white linen.
Whole Silences at Walden
Amish neighbors knew him as that strange English.
He wiped away cataracts of sweat with his hoe,
glaring at unborn vegetables in their hush.
The fence’s post-holes were rows of perfect Os.
He planted potatoes (Kranz and Frontier Russet)
and turnips, returning each week to the field
to startle some Rallus elegans from their nests
and pace the dark grids of his winter yield.
May there be good among the harm
in every empty place you walk.
Remember, strongest foes come armed
with good. To stand with you, face harm—
my life was built for such alarm!
But that’s enough of empty talk;
your odds are good despite the harm,
though it’s near empty where you walk.
Diana Smith Bolton's poems have appeared in the Cartography
anthology by Imagination and Place Press, as well as in 32
Poems, Magic Lantern Review, anderbo, The
Jackson Hole Review, and elsewhere. She is the founding
editor of District, a journal of writing and art.