A bird was missing, or maybe
a boomerang, but a blue one
fallen off the wire
so the others hung crookedly,
twirling and colliding
when the window fan blew strong.
Their shadows wobbled
over the spoon-shaped chairs
and the sofa where I drowsed,
a child adrift in the summer heat.
Dipping and swerving, the shadows
became my father’s Thunderbird
vanishing over a hill, then turned
into a swirl of phantom birds—
_ _Sofa to chair to beyond,
_ _sofa to chair and gone—
except for the heavy one
that smothered me with the scent
of cocktails and cigarettes. I woke
beneath the damp weight of my mother,
rocking as she moaned—
_ _Do you love me?
_ _Do you love me more than him?
Jackie Craven is the author of a poetry collection, Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2018), and a chapbook of tales, Our Lives Became Unmanageable (Omnidawn, 2016), winner of Omnidawn’s Fabulist Fiction award. Her most recent poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, AGNI, Pleiades, Poet Lore, and River Styx. She’s worked for many years as a journalist covering architecture, design, and cultural travel. (updated 4/2020)