SONG

CRAIG FINLAY

 

With sweat and wet breath, earth of art in her
of riverbanks and deeper, the rattle-snap rusting
machines and they catch lines, create current,
with the hold she catches, she catches hold
tongue and spit, pussy and slick, wet words
hay and bale when they appeared in hanging
fog and wet dew on long blades like a string of lights.
 
And now? She is that whole damn tree of herself,
dripping cinder and fern leaves. With a raven
beak of her, black eyes of her, slope of her wing
chew her in coffee grounds spit her in fig seeds
buy her in bulk. The weight. Yeast of her, lapis.
The science and business of now. Finding a cat
that moves through her black shadow in all
 
the back alleys of South Bend. Finally a sheet
finally snow, grey yet glinting on the window
when the rain lashed and the tape ran out. I take
some of her breath (the best way through anyone)
imagine it is wind, the kind that pushes white curtains
or gives our words the right thing to say when
we need it. I think I can see her breath falling like
 
clouds of powder at a color run. It spills from her
mouth and gets everywhere and I’m still cleaning it up
years later, multiple moves later, and laughing about it.
I place it in a mason jar, keep it on a bookshelf, throw
it in the St. Joe river with a note inside that I wrote to
our children about how being young is the last true story
we ever tell. I keep it and don’t throw it. I feed it meal
worms and crickets. I leave it to my favorite grandson,
the one who always read books in the backyard, in the sun.
 

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