by Brooke McKinney

Driving by the cemetery I see
a detour sign by the front gate as if
there is an alternative so I park
by the gate, shut my eyes and I can feel
flooding in the earth’s throat, swallowing the
long way home. I’m feeding my head. I am
putting the birds up to sleep, pretending
I’ve never seen a mannequin, a door,
a building, I desire horizontal 
things in the distance—my bones
sinking, side to side like air, a faded 
map or some heavy confetti for the 
animals to consider. I am so anticlimactic compared 
to birds, the juxtaposition of heart
and dirt, lying down feels good, being flat 
and all that… then I take up rocks, tulips, 
and old stories, toss them, assemble them
like stars, all sad and sharp as if I just 
took all the frontal lobotomies in 
the world and put back together one hell 
of a human, but hell is finding out 
you are a wild misery. It must be 
difficult for a god to raise a hand 
and say—I didn’t do it. I didn’t 
create a detour for you. So where did 
I think I was going today? To talk 
with some natural stranger hidden 
beneath all the mud, stone, and story? But 
I have decided what to do. I will 
invite winter to live inside me, my 
mother, a tree dying to become anything 
but a pile of branch even if there is
no internal evidence of the monotonous 
hum coming from outside. The birds are up. 
I think that is enough.