Not even the body of a lover—remembered,
of course, as all there is, in the end, is
memory—can ease you back to any place

you’d ever want to say you know
like the back of that lover’s neck after love.

The scent of fresh-mown hay suffused the air
and made you want to lick whatever
pheromones mimicked cut grass and kept you

thinking how nothing could ever move you
like that again. And then it seems you’re in

a place you want to say is home, and yet it isn’t
like you can authenticate anything
resembling a claim to where it is you are,

anymore than you could ever pretend
with any hope of the pretence
convincing anyone, certainly not the lover

whose agrarian scent after love made you want
to rear up on your haunches and give a snort

that could make her believe she had made you
able to embody a horse, that what you were
pretending was more true than anything

had ever been or had the right to be. Nothing
comes when you try to remember how it felt

to be immersed in the illusion of the scent
of fresh-mown hay and feel a heart
not your own beating against your chest,

somehow both outside and within
and confused as to just what it was you were in.


George Looney’s books include the forthcoming The Visibility of Things Long Submerged, winner of the BOA Editions Short Fiction Award, Ode to the Earth in Translation, The Worst May Be Over, which won the Elixir Press Fiction Award, The Itinerate Circus: New and Selected Poems 1995-2020, the Red Mountain Press Poetry Award-winning What Light Becomes: The Turner Variations, and the novel Report from a Place of Burning, which was co-winner of The Leapfrog Press Fiction Award. He is the founder of the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Penn State Erie, editor-in-chief of the international literary journal Lake Effect, translation editor of Mid-American Review, and co-founder of the original Chautauqua Writers’ Festival.