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Author of this poem:

Robert Rhodes (Yao Xin)
(August 22, 2010)

Emily Lantz

In the aftermath of snow,
as I walked alone toward the woods
down by Smyrna Road, the sky gray
and blowing, Emily Lantz, 20 and Amish
and lovely, a black wool scarf covering
her white gauze cap, her cape,
flowing and theatrical, like her,
slowed her carriage and offered me a ride.
Willst mit? she asked, reining her butterscotch
gelding to a stop. I looked at my feet
and kicked off the snow sideways
on the front spoked wheel.
The horse shifted impatiently.
Sure, OK, I said and climbed in
next to her. You looked
really cold, she said.
For some reason, with that familiarity
the Amish presume, she calls me
Bobby, like you do. I'm going
to the store in Georgetown, Bobby.
Willst mit?
Sure, OK, I said, and she smiled
with her green eyes
from far back somewhere
in another world -

We passed the school on Strasburg Road
where Emily teaches. It was a Saturday
and so this was the only day she had
mostly to herself. Bobby, she said
as we left the icy road and cut across
a snowfield, can I borrow your cellphone?
She blushed at her own question,
which was beautiful. I want to call Pete,
who I knew was her boyfriend
up in Smoketown.
Sure, OK, I said, and I took the reins
from her hands, surprisingly
smooth and delicate for a farmgirl's.

Who's this, Bobby? she asked, flipping
past your unfamiliar name in the list
of recent calls. She was
smiling again, and both of us blushed
as I tried to think of an answer.

But how to describe you?
your joyful warmth,
your entrancing voice,
or what she would regard as
your illicit presence
in my half-known life?
She just knew the name was neither
wife nor child, and that you
came from some exotic area code.
Oh, just someone who called, I said.
Duh, she laughed, sounding now like
one of my own daughters. Then, turn here
and we got back on the road.

I felt a certain sense of accomplishment
driving an Amish buggy cross-country,
as dark-haired Emily, taking down her scarf,
dialed Pete and waited
for him to answer. I know you know
German, she said, so don't listen, alright?
She blushed again and smiled and nervously
chewed her lips, which were soft and full
and probably had never known lipstick.

Lucky Pete, I thought.

Sure, OK, I said, a mile to go
to the Georgetown store.

she sat back and retied
her scarf and smiled and slipped
the phone back in my coat
pocket. Pete's not there, but thank you.

I looked at her
and at the reins in my hands
and thought of you and your
blue roan mare,
the one you rode
when you were a girl.

Emily said:
Let Jimmy run, Bobby,
we're almost there.

Humming Bird

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