Aim behind the ear. Point blank is a mercy.
If this were sacred, we’d let it run freely as it dies.
But we are part-time believers and tie the legs. I fold
your recipe for mint jelly into the crane’s blue paper.
A group of geese is only a gaggle on the ground.
In flight, they become a skein. A lamb is a lamb
is innocence turning into meat. But this was always
your DIY Heaven, twenty acres of making a go of it.
A group of cranes is a siege or a mobile for a nursery.
Circular flight without ambition or stratosphere.
We hang the body from the swing set and set out
a bucket for blood. You ask me to get on my knees
with such tenderness. To adore what is above you, sublime.
To adore what’s beneath you, we forego the soft core
pleasures of narrative. I swear I prayed to feel only good
desires, but the “I” in every new poem is Judas or Eve.
I used to leave love notes under your windshield that said
A group of solitudes is a family. Now you ask me to leave
addresses so you’ll know where to start looking. Absence
as evidence, as timeline. I want to believe my heart is better
than its choices. I rub the lamb’s ear between thumb
and finger before I pinch it and whisper, Do it, fool. Run.
Traci Brimhall is the author of three collections of poetry: Saudade (Copper Canyon Press, 2017); Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012), selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010), selected by Michelle Boisseau for the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award and finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Award. Her children’s book, Sophia & The Boy Who Fell, was published by SeedStar Books in March 2017. You can find more of her works at TraciBrimhall
The New Word is a poetry submission column. Poems should be no more that 300 words, with a maximum grouping of three related poems. Before submitting, please make sure every word has been considered and the poem has been edited to the very syllable, to the rhythms of each sound and step.