Narrow Passage

I hid in the ditch low by the sedge and tore the white
tendrils of chickweed from the red gut clay Micah
climbed the ash’s ribbed bark its panicles
like chimes Grandpa had called us all to work
to hack limbs but we wandered past the cane field
burnt clean and got lost in the forest each tree
every other tree sitting on a stump together its heartwood
a ringed map Micah took pecans from his pockets
cracking and chewing them an impossible slew
of pecans cradled in his arms the crows roost
out here he said my father abandoned me he meant
we had the same language scuffed knees scent
like summer grass or hay caught in your hair
his black hair always wild taut knots like knuckles
we ran toward a blackberry bush kneeling near its spiny
stems plucking its fruit purpling our fingertips laughing
a feast worn like a mask sweat cooling our backs our hands
the most real part of anyone but you died last week
in prison I cannot even see it the same night my daughter
brought home a seedling hugged in a damp napkin
the green stalk choking the bean the shell flaring like lungs
we hadn’t spoken for years but look at this plant that
has nothing to do with you its slender tangle the leaves
wrinkled when I forget to water it’s like that time we
fished in the paddle boat and I caught that perch
the whole evening smooth on its coin belly and you said
no throw it back unhook it careful now it’s too small
but I kept it and we watched it pant among the ice

BURNSIDE SOLEIL grew up in a houseboat on the bayou, but these days, he's a pilgrim in New Orleans. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK]Bear ReviewLouisville ReviewPermafrost Magazine, and elsewhere. 

Twitter: @heyilikemarx