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I had all but forgotten that crazy quilt,
spread cock-eyed along a finger of grassy knob.
Mismatched fabrics, cartooned pickup trucks
leaping lanes, driving off the rick-racked edge.
I remember that navy blue swimsuit,
its quarter-sized polka dots. Your tanned legs
stretched long, sand stamped, damp curls
and a pin-up girl smile I treasure to this day,
the frenzy behind your dark eyes somehow
tempered. You said it was wild bird weather.
I’d have done with salt for sugar that day,
all the other days lost in fragments
and chaos, steeped in names of the dead
and other people’s dreams. I wish I could say
I lay your body under the honeysuckle
the day you crossed over, let vine and wisp
hang nectar all around you. Instead,
I’ll remember you laughed, with goldfinch
and chipping sparrows, on a blanket
of handstitched highways leading nowhere.
From A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen by Kari Gunter-Seymour (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions 2020).
Kari Gunter-Seymour is the Poet Laureate of Ohio.