Years gathering scattered drafts,
fragments on scraps, and still
a receipt or napkin sometimes slips
from a book or box.
Just last week, this:
A kestrel fell from the sky
and took the chickadee. I
found a ripped wing in the field,
told you to hold it, to feel
the resistance. Even ripped
from the bird it grips the air.
This is how it is with us.
Another scene that hounds: you
at the table we sanded and stained together,
bowed over words: swaying outside
the window behind you, assault
lilies bent red with blooms: memory,
like dream, like film, sooner or later starts
to warp, to waver: the tongues of lilies
turn to flames hell-bent on erasing
what had been written: there.
Fitful sleep always does the trick,
calls you back. We separate
to throw the hunters, their husk
and skew of shadows, flashlights.
Their leashed beasts growling.
What form will your signal take:
Owl, mourning dove, wolf, hawk?
Sense of watching and being
one of the men who had been hidden,
begin to run. Of course, to each other.
Motion slowing as they draw
closer—are drawn closer?
You want to stop them though
you’ll never wake or reach them
before the deafening report, pity
of doves drumming from the wheat
again. Some dark and gleaming thing
a phone? a weapon? falls to the ground.
Slurred light. Surely, you missed
something. It couldn’t just end
like this, that shadow
slipping between them and the sun.
And us. Of course, it slipped
between the sun and us.