Neither Have I Wings – Kasey Jueds

            (scrap paper collage of a bird)

You rest here for a bandaged moment, now
that you are made of paper
and finally close enough to touch. Like this page
I carry with me everywhere, folded
so the print faces inward and the words
touch each other gently in the dark
and the blankness of the opposite side shines out
like the answer to a question
I didn’t know how to ask. Outside, the morning
is graphite, and scumbled
past the closest branches where
one thin one, birdless, rocks
its loss. Still you tell me you are here
for as long as it takes to reach
the center of the coldest lake, a place
without boats where everything simples
to water, water, sky. You tell me there is
a blue I can’t imagine: past pilot light, past winter
afternoon. A woman might melt
her knees to rocky ground
like swallows descending, a child call
her mother through a window left open
to quiet rain. The water is wide,
I can’t cross over. And still you offer
your paper wings where they remember
sap and bark and lignin, before
the broken doorknob comes apart in my hand
and there is no way back to the room
where we slept and our dreams forgave us.
Kasey Jueds

Kasey Jueds’s first book of poems, Keeper, won the 2012 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her work can be found in American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, Narrative, Beloit Poetry Journal, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review and Pleiades. She lives in Philadelphia with one human, a spotted dog, and many houseplants.

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