Reflections on staying when I want to go, especially during a squabble.


Remember the time we were in Portland, rain
pissing down and me mad as hell over some silly thing
I can’t remember anymore. Kids in the back seat,
you in the driver’s seat, you preferring
the drivers’ seat. I don’t know why
it seems so funny now, your wide eyed surprise
and my door slamming stomp down the road
one block, then three, cursing the day and
the turn back, the car still there by the curb
so quietly magnetic as I got back in, said
nothing. We laugh now, you and the kids and me
as you say, remember the time Mom walked off,
remember how you asked if she was ever
coming back
? How we migrate, strengthen
our wings, rise on thermals. The Vireos, strokes of yellow
on raw canvas sky, congregate in the backyard Katsura,
find seed inside husks on bare branches. For a few days
in January, Trumpeter Swans tip themselves in the shallows
off Sarsons Beach. They stretch necks under ice water
eat what clings to the bottom, what they need
to sustain flight.

Previously published in Contemporary Verse 2, 2013 (print), and subsequently by Leaf Press, 2013 (digital), and Farewell Toronto, 2020 (digital)

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