Curls me in the lap of a mother half my size. It will be the last earache I remember having: the last time she holds me: some Spring night not close to Summer, which dawns to shrink the flowers, snip the pistils at my eardrum. Past crying, my mother hears the crickets droning through the screen door. Her grip on me, loosening. She bids me listen, bids me peace so she may know it; as the ache ebbs & flows, she ebbs & flows, rocks me & is rocked. Outside, beetles hide under pine needles from heavy nosedives of owls & the mice, seeking shelter at our shed, meet God’s proudest black snake. The crickets’ song flattened but alive. I can’t put my ear to a pillow without crying.

Soon: Sprouting Grass Moon
salmon learn to slink upstream
the world sleeping, pink



Jami Padgett