I have been flying for hours, watching the foxes dig their holes
and unmaze the landscape. I have lost my mother. All day I search
for grains of safety. Above the glassy circles, where the breeze
is traced in ripples, I understand freedom and its riddles
though I cannot solve them. Perhaps a version without violence,
where I could perch on your wrist and caw apart the morning.
You were remarkable in your nursing—putting marbles in our water
so we would not drown, unstucking our baby necks from the fence links.
And there are afternoons where I see your shoulders, black
with a panic of riffles, where I hear the hound and his urgency. If he
were to find me, I would not fly, for I have seen how a loudness can burst
open a body. The hound outpaces me, so I do not run, sit, rigid,
praying my feathers mimic this shade of straw just so—I count
your distance, the way my mother taught me, and you are already
laughing at my undoing. I cannot reason you from the fox.
Gun jaw, bullet fang, you are perfect halves, but if you should both
witness yourselves ripping through my living—my mother laid on
the truck’s bed, me beside her, our faces turned toward one another,
familied by red—would you not feel feathers in your guilt, the sudden
need to sing a mourning song, almost like a bird?



Nick Stanovick