Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2015  v14n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview


That time your hand worked the gearshift
of your Echo that was the color of snail
silver just after the first minutes of daylight
have gone and their trails are no longer
that showy shine of flatware or tinsel,
but the dull grey of the sledgehammer
in your trunk that unlike some people only
moves deliberately and when it has purpose,
just as we were moving that afternoon
when you pointed east, or was it west,
at the famous Camel’s Hump of Vermont and said,
It looks like a sitting lion, which it does,
and before it was out of sight, the ashes
of your grandparents and how their spreading
on the mountain was still unfinished
was on your mind is what we talked about,
as well as how long the hike would take and what
I haven’t told you is how I’ve been carrying
that lion in my head ever since that day and how
I finally understand the desire to have one’s
body consumed by fire until it is almost as light
as a flame. What more is there?
you once asked me. Who needs a heaven,
I say, when your loved ones can nestle you
into a backpack and climb a misnamed mountain
while they talk about the birthday cakes
you baked or the warm barrels
of burning trash on winter nights or
any number of other memories, which
when mixed with their laughter will blend
into a warm note like the kind the strike
your father’s hammer makes in the woods
and if the acoustics are just right
that sound made up of a single family
laughing and remembering will echo
and rumble so loudly you would believe
it could reach two people heavy with the weight
of their ancestors riding in a car
miles away and moving slow enough
so that when they stop watching the road
for a moment and look at the great green cat
on the horizon, they would not be surprised
one bit if it yawned, rose, and moved around
like every other living thing.  end  

return to top