Do not look back after you leave
the cemetery wild with Dead Man’s Bells
        (or they will follow you, step each foot inside
        your print, their tiny toes inside your sole)
At the clearing edge, pick up a stone, carry it
in your right hand until you have passed—

        there where the day before a blackbird rested
        on your windowsill coaxed into your home, hopped
        onto the floor, thrust its head into the woodbeams,
        snagged a maggot from the wall and flew out the hole.
        Its wings that sounded like clothes flapping on the line.

—carry it with you until you have passed the boundaries
of the yard, a stone in your hand, a caw in your throat
until the edges of wood erupt into straight-strung poplars.

By Sarah McCartt-Jackson

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