Gravity’s Lease - Annette Sisson

The aging rental empty,
dull, she bends to pluck
a daylily by the sidewalk,
striped and gangly, leaning
to light, a vestige of her four
years’ absence. Heading home,
she stops to tighten the tether
on second-hand furniture
in the pick-up. An unexpected
phone call: the dog’s passing,
close of a slow circle.

She had claimed the white dog,
male, rescue, mutt of a certain age.
Her parents bowed to her petition:
Brothers, older, now unclasped
her tightening grasp. The dog
was just compensation for this breach
of gravity, cleft in the orbit of her will.

She buries the dog on the hill
of the back yard, remembers the balm
of his presence. Shoveling, she
notices layers of silt and rock,
roots, gradients of color, sediment
accumulated with the earth’s rotation.
She considers how her life is shaped
by those she claims, the claims
they make on her, their leavings
and comings, moving in and out
of orbit  ̶  ponders the path of her own
rotation, a stately lily in sunlight,
drawn to the pull of gravity’s lease.

Annette Sisson is Professor of English (Victorian Lit.) at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. Recently, she is much taken with one of her earliest loves, writing poetry. Besides teaching and mentoring college students, she loves to travel, hike, bake, play piano, sing alto in choir, watch birds (but not officially “bird watch”), and hang with her family: two sons and a daughter, fully fledged, and her husband, a Communications professor at Belmont. In the last year, she has published 15 poems in 13 journals, including Nashville Review, Typishly, One, and a chapbook, A Casting Off (5/2019, Finishing Line). She was selected nationally to be a BOAAT Writing Fellow (2020), won The Porch Writers’ Collective’s poetry prize (2019), and received honorable mention in Passager’s national poetry contest (2019). Up ahead (five years?) she sees retirement beckoning; it looks like writing and family, sprinkled with house projects, music, travel, and adequate sleep.