While Scratching My Wife’s Back, I Calculate
the Distance Between Sky and Earth

In the space where my wife’s wings must have been
there are no scars, no broken screws, hinges
or binding clips. There is only her skin.
Though grateful, I experience a twinge

of guilt—that we can’t locate the feathers
which rifled her over landfills, carried
her body beyond Earth. These were severed,
erased when she opted to be married

to a man built with more clay than wind. When
she asks, Can you please scratch my back, my hands
know she means, This is how we have chosen
to fall: without memory, meant to land

with what catches us.
This means me. Her skin,
left exposed inside a new, coarse Eden.

Matthew Olzmann was a 2006 and 2007 Kundiman Fellow. His work has recently appeared in The Cortland Review, Pebble Lake Review, American Poetry Journal, Cranky, 88 and elsewhere. Currently, he is a student in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. (olzmann47@hotmail.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761