on gay sanctuary land in Tennessee
We all practiced cutting down a tree.
Held the ax/
held our breath/we watched it fall
across a creek/we needed
a bridge. We had been many years
without one and we needed one.
We all practiced gathering things/we
showed one another our piles. There
was water. Birds all black, with maybe
a head shaped like this: [redacted]
Held hands before each meal.
Did and did not want to share.
I wore the fox’s face
to the family pictures. You
were a lamb and a bear.
Copyright © Oliver Bendorf
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.