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Didi Jackson

Didi Jackson's collection of poems, Moon Jar, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2020. Currently, she teaches creative writing at the University of Vermont and lives in Burlington.

By This Poet

1

Fall

          Do you know what I was, how I lived?
                     —Louise Glück
 
It is a goldfinch
one of the two
 
small girls,
both daughters
 
of a friend,
sees hit the window
 
and fall into the fern.
No one hears
 
the small thump but she,
the youngest, sees
 
the flash of gold
against the mica sky
 
as the limp feathered envelope
crumples into the green.
 
How many times
in a life will we witness
 
the very moment of death?
She wants a box
 
and a small towel
some kind of comfort
 
for this soft body
that barely fits
 
in her palm. Its head
rolling side to side,
 
neck broke, eyes still wet
and black as seed.
 
Her sister, now at her side,
wears a dress too thin
 
for the season,
white as the winter
 
only weeks away.
She wants me to help,
 
wants a miracle.
Whatever I say now
 
I know weighs more
than the late fall’s
 
layered sky,
the jeweled leaves
 
of the maple and elm.
I know, too,
 
it is the darkest days
I’ve learned to praise —
 
the calendar packages up time,
the days shrink and fold away
 
until the new season.
We clothe, burn,
 
then bury our dead.
I know this;
 
they do not.
So we cover the bird,
 
story its flight,
imagine his beak
 
singing.
They pick the song
 
and sing it
over and over again.