Midge Burley waded Hackle Creek.
She heard a stray wren singing ivies
to the water. She watched a madtom
creasing into mud. If her children
could own the land that Ezra gambled
away, she’d plant fifty-three flowers
for his ghost, so her kids might learn
lilacs from hobble-weeds, might fit
the stars to their own winter hills.
The wren sang as if scaled into wood
and Midge found it all shadowed in a lens,
an old uncle’s spyglass staring at nothing.
She told the wren, sing and let the earth be,
steal into the sunset, and leave all the earth.
She whistled its song back to the wren,
and burbled the song down to the fishes
as if a ghost there might baptize itself singing.
Clyde Kessler, Virginia, USA