I try not to think of
we passed to get here
beak to broken deer.
Hills festooned. Red ribbons & spray.
Pony beads & ponies’ teeth. Switchgrass, bent at the fray.
starlings / robins / blackbirds
We cast peanuts
to conjure family from
24 bodies / 48 wings.
I show her the sparrow.
She tells me
is a metaphor, or rather
is a matter of the heart.
I wanted to tell you there are
no more than
& a bird’s sits inside an hourglass.
Map pins scatter
under the ladder’s crimped left leg.
(Off kilter, like me, bracing all the time.)
Did you know a monarch keeps a compass in its throat?
& a clock in its antennae?
I chart vacancies on the wall.
Mark each point of separation.
I heard they found four bees alive,
swimming in one eye.
I heard she bathes in rose & thyme
instead of cloves & lye.
The deer all dropped
down by the water, last drink.
A pin-prick of a thing to take down such an animal,
to set the vultures a wake—
Too full to fly.
The storm that blew the crows off the trees
left an egret
striding across the neighbor’s lawn.
We never meant to walk so far,
sun & tide, recessing. Is this stone
or petrified wood? We help the dog over.
Wading in & out of salt-marsh
I ask again,
Are we still alive?
As if you knew the answer.
Summer J. Hart (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist from Maine, living in the Hudson Valley, New York. Her written and visual artworks are influenced by folklore, superstition, divination, and forgotten territories reclaimed by nature. Hart is the author of the microchapbook, Augury of Ash (Post Ghost Press, 2020.) Her poetry can be found or is forthcoming in Waxwing, The Massachusetts Review, Denver Quarterly, Northern New England Review, and elsewhere. Her mixed-media installations have been featured in galleries including Pen + Brush, NYC; Gitana Rosa Gallery at Paterson Art Factory, Paterson, NJ; and LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA. She is a member of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation.
Artwork by: Summer J. Hart