May We Meet No Line a Boundary

Sometimes I return to my mother’s childhood home, believing
I can reclaim it.

Mists rise up off the frozen creek
and the red star of Betelgeuse blinks out.

Pools of snowmelt glitter
violet as the Wyoming iolite. This is her territory, not mine,
her mother’s grave and her father’s.

I track it, the old paths of a past life.
The martin’s pad foot prints the mud,
claws curled into slivers of an unspoken language.

It’s mine now. I’ve nearly caught up with it,
right at the hem of the garment.

The red wing blackbird pivots
and shifts on its tall switch.
At first bright re-ignition of morning light,
the snake hushes in the saltbush
and lifts its rattle to astonish us.


From Tongue Screw (Spark Wheel Press, 2016). Copyright © 2016 by Heather Derr-Smith. Used with permission of the author.