May/June 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 3 Nature’s Nature 2020 |

Love as a Succession of Absences

Thoreau notes not only the purple woodbine berries, his snapping turtle trailing its yolk sac, but what he has not seen — the bobolinks for ten days, the blackbirds since August 28. The fireflies. My thoughts suffered a sea change, he confesses. Only he means: where he stood that day was once a tidal plain. The sea sparkled salt by his feet. Anemones bloomed like a rose and another rose. And did we miss it, when the sea receded and the whales went south? This song of loss deep and wide, like a fountain flowing by way of children’s hands and arms in Sunday school, sung until each word is marked by a hummed note. No sound of a bullfrog, says Thoreau. No scent of muskrats. No golden robins. No snow here.

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Hannah VanderHart lives in Durham, North Carolina, and recently finished her doctorate at Duke University. She has poetry and reviews published in the Kenyon Review, Poetry Northwest, Greensboro Review, McNeese Review, Thrush Poetry Journal, American Poetry Review, Indianapolis Review, and storySouth. Her chapbook, What Pecan Light, is forthcoming from Bull City Press; she is the reviews editor at EcoTheo Review.

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