For C. Dead birds canvas brushwood in the clearing. You point & name them as we pass – flycatcher, nightjar, wren – flat- voiced, as if reading to a crowd. You’re eleven. I can’t tell you how they died, can’t dispel your stolid eyes or your wish to join them in silence. We cast lines in a nearby rill. You pull at brook trout – swayback, violent – like last night, when mountain sunsets raged & your neck bloomed a chorus of indigo veins. I tousle your hair. You examine the carrion at your feet – clipped feathers, cracked beaks. Rain beats the rill to plaster. You’re five years younger than I was when I bent your grandpa’s Lincoln around a tree – as close as I’ve been to my own release – after I jerked the wheel & heard a shotgun echo in the blue hue of morning.
Jason D. Ramsey resides halfway between Detroit and Chicago, and serves as the editor-in-chief of Barren Magazine and Barren Press. His poetry and essays can be found in various places, including After the Pause, Dark Marrow, The Bees Are Dead, Patheos, and more. Find him on social media @JasonDRamsey.