slick – Jill Kitchen

what can i say? these aching wings, so fragile.
how once they opened & thrummed with possibility.
now, there is too much to carry. how can the clouds
keep moving despite it all? the fairy statue in the backyard
face down, her sculpted wings long since unattached.
skeletons of sunflowers tangled in late winter bales
blown by the fire winds into a knot of rosebushes.
i just need someone to hold me. to hold me so hard,
i can’t feel anything else, only a tightness i can’t escape.
so hard, i can’t search for mountain lions out the window,
scan for the threat of their silhouette. this panic pulse
of vigilance. standing outside at dusk watching the children
run back & forth across the street, holding laughter & the still bright
in their eyes, i watch for a creature i might have to fight,
would fight, even, though i don’t know how. would i unleash
a flight of scream? my 7-year-old neighbor told me that’s what
her father taught her to do. she said she couldn’t demonstrate,
i’d have to cover my ears & even then, it might hurt.
our children worry about predators waiting in that cluster twist
of cottonwood tree, yet frolic & play chase, skating & slip scurrying
across ice in the road that grows brick-strong & packed down
week after week, despite sunmelt & trucks bearing cement & gravel.
what if we have all become that ice? worn down over & over
by this year & the last, but some vast slick remains,
something fierce & unburdened by beauty.

Jill Kitchen

Jill Kitchen’s work appears in HAD, FERAL, Pidgeonholes, Rust & Moth, SWWIM, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, West Trestle Review, and is forthcoming from Radar Poetry. She lives in Boulder, Colorado where she can be found rollerskating on the creek path searching for great horned owls. Twitter:¬†@jillkitchen¬†

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