Perhaps a milksnake fell from the claws of a hawk
we had not seen. Or we failed to keep a close enough
for laccaria growing wild beneath his bedroom window,
for abandoned turtle shells, for rippling summer storm clouds,
for the changing shapes
of moon-tipped, evening fog.
And if the years had somehow pried the boy apart—
pried him while we watched him in his
father’s fields,
pried him as his shoulders widened and his freckles
fell away,
pried him while he walked across our bottomlands
to school—we somehow missed it in entrails of
the screech owl.
All things are naturally divined, our preacher tells us,
and so we dream ourselves
on this denuded winter morning,
wordless as we gather to lay him in the frozen earth.
While the sky swells until we know that it will

Doug Ramspeck directs the Writing Center and teachers creative writing and composition at the Ohio State University at Lima. More than 200 of his poems have been published at journals that include West Branch, Rattle, Confrontation Magazine, Connecticut Review, Rosebud, Nimrod, Roanoke Review, RHINO, The Cream City Review, and Seneca Review. (sutton-ramspeck.2@osu.edu)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761