Singing ~ Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum



What do I know of God but that each winter

I thank him for it? No spider webs

snagged in the bluestem, no horseflies at rest

in cones of henbit, no slug trails penned

to the cooled hoods of cars. We are creatures all,

stillborn to the language of split pine rails

standing in their pickets, ice glazed to bone

in every rut, the stealth tracks of jays a sleepless

ideography in the snow. But we are not

entirely alone between the mountain ranges,

in these hours condemned to darkness

before the sun gyres open the face of February

and the red flare of Mars grows dim.

Just outside my door, the burr oak is wintered

full of grackles— hundreds of coin-

eyed scuttles ornamenting its branches. Here,

my breath plumes gray. In the distance,

brush catches fire. The wind, if you watch,

is calligraphy; the stars in winter,

a weightlessness. The grackles are doors,

rasping their flight plans limb to limb.

The grackles are doors, some limned with light,

others black. Rising, my arms have long

been open. Stepping across these thresholds,

I step across these thresholds. Singing, I sing.