Donkey was the only one she’d found
in the puzzle called “Pets.” The circle, wavy
across the left side, the word struck
through with a confident lead line.
She never found Cat curled near the top,
or unchameleoned Lizard dead
center, backward Guinea Pig hid.
Hard to find energy to chase Canary.
I wonder if she closed her eyes
against the book. I see, now,
the next puzzle is “In the Air”—
devoid of marks, pristine, so clean.
Unfound Aroma, Drizzle, and Dust.
I think of Wind, and what it does
to a cotton dress. How, in a Haze,
her voice made me so glad and hopeless.
The Butterfly, so light and whole
and clear, quickly taken from the air.
Elijah Burrell is the author of the poetry collection The Skin of the River (Aldrich Press, 2014). His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Birmingham Poetry Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, AGNI, Measure, Sugar House Review, and elsewhere. His poem “Bones” was featured in audio form on Sugar House Review‘s podcast, and two of his poems have been featured on The Missouri Review‘s audio podcast. He resides in Jefferson City, Missouri, with his wife and two daughters, and teaches creative writing and literature at Lincoln University. (updated 12/2015)