Migration by Casey Nichols


Remember we broke earth
for the thrush, cupped its body

in our hands, mottled with the haste
of late August. There is a name for

the moment flute-song is silenced
in sagebrush, threshold, loss.

Mouth agape like nothing
we had buried before. Look alive,

it said, & we heard
its last heartbeat, the snap

of a needle in half. A quiet chill
that signals our own migration.

& we will try to ignore it.
We’ll build a house of wind

on the river’s edge that moves
like a piece of sky uncreased by

what passes through it. We will live
there for decades, maybe hours—

my memory recoils, is a promise

The scent of air is different
from the scent of shadows,

as the open snout of a deer
on the open field learns.

The heart needs harrowing
to know its peace.
Casey Nichols is an MFA candidate in poetry at Bowling Green State University, where she is a Devine Fellowship finalist. In 2010, she was the winner of the Wick Poetry Undergraduate Competition. Currently, she is an assistant editor for Mid-American Review.