We bought Amish quilts
in Kalona. Or, I bought two.
You hung back, approving,
but disinclined by nature
to purchase cotton and twill
oddments, stars and hexagons.
Yet you did. And paid with
a rare optimism: a love poem.
It turns out I was the one
who did not believe. When
an ecstatic life is taken apart
then re-stitched in increments,
it comes to resemble bad faith,
a set of troubled assumptions.
My daughter sleeps under mine.
And you, who are nowhere now but
in the charged air, you saw it first,
pointed out to me in love the one
bright yellow square, uncanny, unfaded
in the dim one hundred-year-old field.
Carol Muske-Dukes is professor of creative writing and English at USC and the author of eight books of poems, most recently Twin Cities.