Laura Fargas


A few streaks of magenta in the sky
and everywhere else, gray.
Overhead, frozen leaves
rattle like a typist
with a document due
by four o’clock. At dusk
starlings fly past my window
west toward the river
and the orange melt of light.
Swifts begin circling the white dome.
Floodlit, we say,
washing our own harsh light
against the blue lulling to black.
All night the swifts
cry overhead, shrill little voices
sharp with hunger.
An erg is a unit of work,
instructs my neighbor’s son.
Each year I enjoy
this red oak’s leaves
all winter, and every year
I forget to notice
when they fall. New leaves
come without needing my attention.
An urge is a unit of desire.
It is all work, and the least of it
calls me in.

Laura Fargas practiced occupational safety and health litigation on the worker side for twenty-seven years for the Department of Labor. Her books include An Animal of the Sixth Day (Texas Tech Univ. Press, 1996). She lives in Washington, DC.