Lindsay Bernal


Elegy Landscape


No matter where I am—
everywhere avoiding solitude

—the clouds are Constable’s,
I’m irritable waiting for what’s next: 

sex, a drink I shouldn’t have, 
a jog through Wyman Park.

You were calmest at the desk,
content inside your mind,

done by dull external afternoon
—egg salad, teaching, emailing Jill

a revision that seemed small
but wasn’t. I keep writing about

whales and failing, and this painting
by Celia Paul, who loves Constable, too,

lived for a while near Devon,
which is why the ocean,

if it’s ocean, means something.
Why I record water on my phone 

obsessively to listen to later.
Does it make me more patient?

Does it even make me see
the sea swallowing the river 

at high tide, the thawing falls, 
or that swimming hole

I dove into from a cliff 
after terrifying weather

—the sky almost relaxing 
looked just like Cloud Study:

Stormy Sunset, removed from view
at the National Gallery.

I don’t want to forget
the sound of the water, your voice

—the ephemeral more ephemeral,
sharper, before it’s lost.