Migrating geese bob out of line
becoming braille against clouds.
I can’t reach far enough to feel what it says.
I texted dad asking if we could talk.
He replied let’s wait till next year.
One-Mississippi. Two-Mississippi. Three-Mississippi.
Damp October screams into my toes.
I continue to follow the sound of one
Pacific tree frog where they shouldn’t thrive.
Ten Octobers ago, I let snow into my shoes.
My mom picked at the thick shells covering
the pink forgiveness. I lost two in the indoor public pool.
Stillness killed by cracking keratin against
rock and decay and dirt; against keeping quiet and
staying polite and being good; against bark and wind and each other.
When I go backpacking old men on the trail
like to tell me how proud of me they are.
Four-Mississippi. Five-Mississippi. Six-Mississippi.
I can’t see the herd. It is enough to touch this sound
fully with my adrenaline and fear, calming now
knowing the owner of the suddenness.
Pointing my toes in the direction of a wood stove.
Can you know how close a gun is by the bullet’s echo?
Seven-Mississippi. Eight-Mississippi. Nine-Mississippi.
I know two women who hunt: one with sagebrush
on her spine, one teaches yoga.
But when I hear gunfire I think of men.
Published in The Rising Phoenix Review