Having Weighed the Only Words I Hold by Jeff Hardin

             that man on the rooftop
                                    others mistake for a jumper—
                          but I am here only to see
                                    the skyline closer
                                               and to get above

             the doorposts before the angel passes by.

             quite believes me, though,
                                    for all my words having fallen

                          past usefulness.
                                    I pick them up like stones
                                               to glimpse their undersides,

             to weigh them in my hands and fling them on.

             is this “we,” for instance,
                                    so often spoken of these days?

                          You and I—we’re like those farm birds
                                    leaving fence posts
                                               to fly full-bodied

             against each other. Still, I believe that we

             nonetheless, gifts to one another—
                                    of that I am sure.

                          For such sentimental claims
                                    I’m often dismissed,
                                               though I doubt

             fiercer words will be found in me.

             won’t remember
                                    that boy I was years ago,

                          batting rocks across the creek,
                                    but each arc of flight
                                               into the brush

             was one more forgiveness that reached the other side.
Jeff Hardin is the author of Fall Sanctuary, recipient of the Nicholas Roerich Prize from Story Line Press, and Notes for a Praise Book, selected by Toi Derricotte for the Jacar Press Book Award. His third collection, Restoring the Narrative, received the Donald Justice Poetry Prize and is forthcoming in 2015. His poems have appeared in The New Republic, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Southwest Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, Hotel Amerika, Southern Poetry Review, Meridian, and elsewhere. He teaches at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, TN. His website is www.jeffhardin.weebly.com.