by Justin L. Bond


In the valley the treetops
are bandaged in a dirty gauze
the fields lusty with flames set
to startle another growing season
for the tired earth

I could clothe myself in birdcalls
the meadowlark, the scissortail

What is left to do when the skeletons have left the closets

When they rattle around the house
like robots of blown glass
pulling up the carpets
and rearranging furniture

To leave
or burn it down

Sometimes I worry
that I will never yield
enough to sustain you
that like a fallow field
I have given the best of myself
to past seasons

I read a story once of a Russian saint
who when gifted doves by her enemies

tied lit kindling to their feet
and sent them home to flutter ruin
down upon what she could not possess

Imagine how lovely they must have seemed
drifting like rogue stars from the night sky

in the way that all gone things
shine brightest in the moment
of their losing

Justin L. Bond was born in Ochelata, Oklahoma, and is an alumnus of the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain. He now lives and works in Tulsa.