James Kimbrell Tallahassee (Steve Kronen)
If my parents left anything unsaid, they kept it to themselves
before stepping into that breeze that blows backwards,
into that boat that rows beyond passage. If I could hear,
if I could reach their nearest syllable, then I would know
I have assumed the body of the Mississippi sandhill crane
I’ve always wanted to be. If my sisters could fly beside me,
we’d count the teardrop sandbars down the Chickasawhay,
tipping our gray feathers. This is just to say, if the dead
could send a message, it might be written in the cursive
of bees hovering above my uncut grass. If I could read
their flight, I wouldn’t need to be satisfied with missing
my father. These are the conditions of the cosmos
and gravity, from which I cannot budge. Meanwhile, airplanes
look like boats motoring overhead, the sky is that deep.
Originally published in Grass Routes, 2021 and in my latest manuscript, The Law of Truly Large Numbers.