Soon no longer will I find you
as blown ash and bone
in flattened grasses where deer bed down

but in the sun flare and flash that move
through this world as dapples
on the backs of those we number in the field.

Their bodies steam in the pre-dawn damp,
and when they rise they wear you in the mud
thatched to the v of their hooves

and in the wet slicked to their fetlock’s curl.
On the slenderest of legs, they carry you
past what blurs into bramble and branch.

Once you were the field and everything in it
that grew while the sky, pearlescent
in its making and unmaking, slid over.

Now you, who have already traveled
from one world to the next, must travel again
across lowlands on the paws of the dog, on

the hooves of the deer, docents of dirt
each divot recalls. They carry you
into the reeds at the water’s edge,

silver tongue lapping the bank where they stand.
They carry you beyond my cries.
Clover fed, the deer walk through summer

then winnowed by want, long miles,
they walk from one year into two.
You will never come back

though my blood sings your name,
and the heart, ghost of a continent,
sounds the syllables sewn to its own.

I will stand in the field clothed in silence.
Tell me, Father, where should I look
when not even the rain can find you?

Jennifer Key