John Pleimann


            —For Amy

The song I wrote about your hands
became the poem I wrote about your legs,
became the phone call I began,
became the letter I unsealed to revise

until a snowy egret rose
from the marsh and carried
my words through an aperture
into dusk.

I see much better in the dark. Shadows turn
inside-out and there, a strand of your hair
on the hallway floor like some cursive letter
from a language that’s trying to learn me.

One day your black hair went wild
across your eyes, and you smiled like a child
playing hide-and-seek. Egretta thula rises
unbidden to my lips.

I’m not sure if that’s right, but before I can check
the egret returns and settles out of sight,
the way all new words for love
begin in augury and divination.


John Pleimann has worked as an advertising copywriter and is now a professor of English at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri—just south of St. Louis. He has published poems in The Gettysburg Review, The Evansville Review, Atlanta Review, and The Antioch Review.