TAPPAHANNOCK
by Kim Harvey

Now you are here, walking through tall stalks,
fingering a rat skull in your pocket like a lucky
penny you picked up along the way. Now imagine

the claw that felled her or the blade, ants entering
the eyehole, hawk who finished her off, your shawl
shed like cornsilk and husk. Red fox darting across

the path, no other human, just rushes, cattails,
marsh grass, reeds where the swamp used to be,
where there once was lily pad, frogs croaking

their throat song into the night. Now it is quiet,
swollen wall of yellow-green after the calm, after
the storm, after the delusion of storm, deluge. In

your chest, a swarm of angry bees, a reason
to go on. Don’t carry the burden of tomorrow. Don’t
carry the burden of any hour. Carry the bird in

the tool shed out again. Let the bluebird out
with the wind, blueprint of wind: tulle, satin, silk,
husk, all as before, the rust-red fox at dusk.

Now you are gone. Outside the camera’s frame,
tanned hands of a fisherman bending down
to net the day’s catch. Now you are full,

lulled to the sill, cellophane, cello playing,
selling the dream of tomorrow dangling

on the end of a string. Now you are young
again. Now you are not afraid to die.

Now let the wind carry you home.

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