Last of all I find the garden with its thousand steps.
How many times have I walked by
and never seen the two staircases widening out away
before coming back together, over and over?
I walk through the garden—tiger lilies, painted roses,
though the season for flowers has passed-- there are worse bonds to break than the body’s--
the stairs are empty, the night comes quickly,
the steps, the sentinel stone crows, wet
from an afternoon rain--some animals
understand this—and when I reach the top-- others will brood a stone if it stays beneath them--
I walk out to a part of the city
where I have never walked.
JACQUES J. RANCOURT is the author of the forthcoming collection Novena, winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize. He has received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, the Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and a residency from the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France. His poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, jubliat, New England Review, Ploughshares, Virigina Quarterly Review, and Best New Poets 2014. He lives and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area.