Migrations | Teen Ink


May 23, 2019
By jl637 DIAMOND, Livingston, New Jersey
jl637 DIAMOND, Livingston, New Jersey
72 articles 0 photos 16 comments

That winter, we drove cross-country through ghost orchards
                                                            where cloves of wildflowers withered
in sheets of snow, your breath bristling my throat
                                                            while goldfinches sang

from the wisteria trees, bare branches drooping
                                                            the way your shoulders did in the shower,
where no one could see you weeping as clumps of hair
                                                            encircled the drain like molten feathers,  
your body fading slowly to past tense, a hollow home
                                                            you could not exit out of.
Which bodies do we honor? The men on
                                                            football fields who destroy their flesh
to a chorus of adoring roars? The churchgoers with knees folded
                                                            in prayer, searching for holiness
in the communion wine burning through their empty stomachs?
                                                           The whole drive home, I kept thinking of escape--
the migratory birds flying southbound, searching                                                                                                                             for someplace warmer than here.
The shallow curve of your ribs, shrinking into
                                                           the negative space of a photograph.
Even now, months later, I am haunted by the faint voices
                                                           of birds traveling across the distances to

my small heart, their beaks carrying your hoarse cries.
                                                           Understand: there are moments softer
than ourselves. The ghosts of your fingers laced in mine, your pulse
                                                           beating slow and warm under my wrist.
Which losses do we mourn and which do we bury?
                                                           What light stumbles to greet us?
Listen: even wings can be formed out of nothing.
                                                           Here, come with me. 
Let us glue each feather back together until
                                                           we're strong enough to take flight.

The author's comments:

for R.

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