It wasn’t you,
unexpectedly in the yard,
and it wasn’t finding
what it was looking for either
skirting the empty tree.
A body by the river is a cliché,
but they found one
and cordoned off the road.
Newspapers remind us
we know more about decay
than we like to let on—
there are experts among us
who know death to the hour,
death by the degree. Then
there’s what our own bodies tell us
day by day or sometimes
all of a sudden. The crime-scene
tape comes down. The parade-route
flags, the missing-person flyers,
the mourning cloths come down.
The sun sets differently by degrees
and again the river is a garden,
a mirrored highway for ruby-throats
with exacting coordinates
etched into their flight brains,
a gushing vein that feeds
and feeds the sea.
Copyright © 2013 Lisa Olstein
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.