After the Break-Up

Derek Webster


I was beside myself, living alone.
I went for walks. I read about war. 

How hollow my days seemed. I was boring.
The Highland cattle, chewing and staring

in the leased fields next door, my proof
that I was there, and still worth looking at.

Anger scared me, especially my own.
I threw orange tennis balls against

a cinderblock wall behind the house.
In the fall dark, the man who fed

the cows never talked to me, just turned
to look—did not resume his work—until

I’d trudged far past the field.
It took a dream for me to leave that place:

crows pulling sinews from my body’s brown field
while Florence Nightingale applied the alcohol.

I had no words to say I’d done you wrong.