Not crows but the land they glean come fall
and me in that place, wearing another
under my nails. Night made a bride of me,
married to dirt. You would not imagine
a tree but it grew—a refusal
of field as was I. Mornings, the sun fell
through branches building a cage
of shadow. Nothing held me but time,
polishing the girl I was to bone, to blade.
I was dreaming my way back to ruined
Virginia, rotten domain where wind swept
the field from fence line to scrub pine
and back again like a teacher drawing
an eraser across a board on which
the only figure was mine. Understand,
I didn’t ask to be benediction or trespass.
I never wanted to perfect silence or serve
as an answer or echo, not even
of your thoughts as you stand on the bridge
or pause on the outskirts of town.
I only wanted to wade through cool grass
and watch the moon haul its halo
from the deep but it tarnished instead
like a penny spent of its light.
Jennifer Key is the author of The Old Dominion (University of Tampa). She currently holds a John and Renée Grisham Fellowship in poetry at the University of Mississippi. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, The Carolina Quarterly, The Antioch Review, and Poetry Daily. Her honors include a Diane Middlebrook Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin and a Henry Hoyns Fellowship at the University of Virginia.