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Gathering

The smallest feet are stumbling over lawns,
their parents following them into the flat, fringed green.
The trees put on their flowering sun dresses.
The sky whispers a red secret across the tulips.
The cats are remembering the warmth of the sun;
something about the curves in their bodies lets them know.
The single women carry grocery bags filled with fennel
and onions and bread
and take them into the night
with their bottles and old movies
and their memories of those children
playing through the neighborhood—the airplanes,
trains, and automobiles of their bodies.
The women sip from tall glasses and shut off their televisions.
They remember the bright traffic of those little legs and arms.
They sleep in the quiet of their empty houses,
their cushioned heads filling and turning.
Asleep in my own house, I dream of a daughter
walking by a river. She flails her arms
like propellers, hoping to take down a piece of sky.
She picks up a wooly bear from the road
and watches the coarse thumb bristle along her arm.
She passes by an open field, sees just one cow and,
her hand over the fence, holds its jaw to feel the chewing.
She carries the memory of that mouth
as a roundness in her hand,
an ellipsis tracing back to my body.

The morning arrives above us.
Birds begin to breathe,
songs burrowing out their beaks
into the gathering wildness.
 
 
 

Rebecca Macijeski's poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Clackamas Literary Review, Border Crossing, Fourteen Hills, Whiskey Island, Fickle Muses, Phantom Drift, and others. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she currently serves as the assistant poetry editor for Hunger Mountain. She is studying toward a PhD in poetry at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, where she an assistant editor in poetry for Prairie Schooner. Three of her poems were chosen as winners of a 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize. She has been awarded artist residencies with The Ragdale Foundation and Art Farm Nebraska.