Sunday, 14 February 2021


Once I Had Wings
by Kari Gunter-Seymour
I yield to the ache that overtakes me
in this fallow field, red clay dust,
the shattered bones of brittle cornstalks,
seedless tassels tossed by the wind.
My body remembers you in fragments,
echoes the way it arched and let go,
fingering the drawstrings of each other’s fleece
before mashing mouths, feeding                               
our hunger in beds of spring seedlings,
shadows stretched long, a residue
of stars and blue dawn inching in, the tone
of finale opening our flesh, our spines.
Cool morning air, the color of yarrow,
tingled tangled arms, and finches
pricked themselves again and again
to gorge on berries deep within the thicket.
There is a fragrance where skin meets time,
lulling as the wilt of golden hour light.
I memorize bird calls and wild herbs,
hang tallow, sow millet, as if winter is a crop.
I dream you shirtless among the jagged roots,
sharp as outlines of loss, sing with the nighthawk
to defer the dawn, wait.
I have grown to crave even your silence.
* * * * *
"Once I Had Wings" is part of Kari Gunter-Seymour’s poetry collection A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions 2020).
Kari Gunter-Seymour’s poetry collections include A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions 2020) and Serving (Crisis Chronicles Press 2018/2020-Expanded Edition). Her work is firmly attached to her home soil and is an examination of the long-lasting effects of stereotype and false narratives surrounding Appalachians. Her poems appear in numerous journals and publications including Verse Daily, Rattle, Still, The NY Times and on her website:
. She is the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year and Poet Laureate of Ohio.

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