“THERE’S NO THROUGH TRAIL” —HAN-SHAN, TRANSLATED BY GARY SNYDER
/ You’ve lived, you haven’t fallen yet

You’ve lived, you haven’t fallen yet

by Sarah St. Vincent

(From a series of pandemic sonnets)

God! I’m glad I can smell the spring, or smell
at all. I’ve stuffed the house with cheap bouquets

all winter, to test myself. Can I catch
the scent, will I make it? In the city park,

over exhaust and exhaustion, I can tell
there’s a grove of bluebells opening to the day

like hands exiting prayer, and a swaying patch
of ferns, shoots coiled like fingers, a thicket,

that rankness of growth. In the plague, when people fell
where they stood, some carried sachets

of petals—pockets full of posies—to snatch
their lives back from greedy fate. Take it,

this spring: you’ve lived, you haven’t fallen yet.
Sometimes, this scent is all the grace we get.

Sarah St. Vincent

About Sarah St. Vincent

Sarah St.Vincent is originally from rural Pennsylvania and currently lives in London, where she leads a small international human rights organization. Her poetry has previously appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, Rattle, and Rise Up Review, and she is also the author of the award-winning novel Ways to Hide in Winter (Melville House, 2018).

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.