Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Your Body in Transit from Ice to Fire

My brother says we should pray.
So I’ve been walking the ranch trail,

listening to wind shudder the late spring larkspur.
Across the street, in the church backyard,

a quartet plays Rachmaninoff
and each time the violins pause,

I can hear the finches
dropping notes into warm sunlight. Strange

how, at the end, dementia made you kind.
How I’d take you out to walk

and you’d pause,
tilt your face up to sun, and grin.

And when I’d bring you a ripe pear,
you’d feed me a bite for every one you took.

Here, at dusk, the ridge begins to flame.
Soon even your name will be undressed of flesh.

I want to believe as my brother does
that you are entering the mind of God.

But I think you will be ash and memory.
I think I will carry you the way the grasses

bend down in a harsh wind.
The last time we sat together on a bench

in sun, it felt as if someone newly composed
out of your dying spoke to me,

saying Honey, if someone doesn’t love you,
they don’t know themselves.

And even if I’d foreseen
that you’d be dead by week’s end,

it would not have changed what I said next.
Which was to ask, What’s my name?

Knowing that you didn’t know,
that you could still make me nothing.  

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