The Poetry Project

Cindy Tran

Dark Leaving

after Light Coming on the Plains No. III
by Georgia O’Keeffe, 1917, watercolor on paper

It was never about the plain.
(What is plain to see
seems best at hiding.)

The light would come
and go for a while
before morning was ready for morning.

It’s not clear when the sun rose
or that dark ever left
or what held the two so close.

To Fairway in West Harlem

Imagination placed an apple tart
in my mind and told my legs to go down
four flights of stairs, maybe a kind of start,
a quiet way to make myself a crown

of sweetness sliced from a two pound bag
of galas, yes, quiet and sweet like days
of sunrises and sunsets playing tag,
all layered and fanned out like hands in praise,

and now I’m in the Cold Room with apples
at my side, and wonder how there’s so much
good butter here, how so much good happens
standing still, like the butcher, never in a rush—

he always knows the exact moment to say,
“How are you?” and “What will it be today?”

Issue 16