(Zach Miller/Unsplash)

Because I could not stop for air, I learned
that someone there is that doesn’t love birdsong.
     Even though I live in this pretty how town,
     there’s a fire somewhere else, not far from here,
     or will be, and even though on the porch railing
     there’s sun tea brewing as gold as the runaway
     St. John’s wort that’s strangled the wild clematis,
I know that articulated buses in Seattle are still taking
the corners like ambling geriatric caterpillars,
     and the boy at the inn in Taxco is still sweeping
     the dirt and watching the revolving flirty young girls,
     and the green piñata spills broccolini, sugar peas,
     and organic grapes on the baby’s tears,
     and the two-trunked oak threatens to split,
     to send its wider leg crashing into the copse
     of native dogwood, and day after day
     the water’s edge warns and invites.
When the robot neurologist via video asks the patient
to raise his arms, his right leg, his left leg,
     the patient cannot,
     and I picture Lewy bodies as other planets,
     other stars that died dark years ago.
At the end of the day I go to sleep, except when I don’t,
     and last night star jasmine and linden blossoms
     sweetened the air as one airplane, red lights pulsing,
     and one satellite sailed north by northeast
     on the open sky road.

Judy Brackett lives in the California foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada. Her poems have appeared in Fish Anthology 2022, California Fire & Water, Epoch, the Maine Review, Commonweal, Midwest Review, Cloudbank, Subtropics, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, Flat Water: Nebraska Poems was published by Finishing Line Press.

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Published in the June 2023 issue: View Contents
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