Burying The Rooster
Rain the last few days, & rain now, & yard mud 
sucks at our boots, our shovel blades, the hole 
below the apple sapling filling with dirty water
even as we dig. 
                         Until a moment ago, the old bird 
had been side-eyeing us, each low cluck 
forcing blood from the skunk bites 
all down his black-feathered breast. I kept thinking 
he’d call it quits. When he didn’t, I told 
my son — nine this winter, & taller 
than the other boys, awkward, brimming with wonder 
& troubles — Look the other way. Then raised up 
my shovel. 
                   Now he kneels in the mud & grass, my son, 
& lowers Frankie into the grave. Gently, gently 
he smooths the green, fantastic tail feathers, 
rights the broken neck’s odd loll. Ever 
say a prayer for a dead rooster in the rain? Ever 
hold hands with a big, sad boy who will be 
bigger than you someday? I’d stand here for hours 
if I could. Days. Years. Right here in the cold rain.
Things My Daughter Pretends
that she has fairy wings     that she 
is seventeen     that she can talk to dogs 
in dog language     that her sister got sick 
& died of a sickness in her heart     right 
here she says & thumps her own 
thin bones     that whenever she wants 
she calls Taylor Swift on the phone 
that she has a phone     that the house 
that burned down last summer was ours 
that we built it back from rain-splash 
& ashes     that she’s made supper 
in the shallow cups of her hands     do you 
want goulash or tacos     that her gown 
is at the cleaners     that she got invited 
to the ball but decided not to go     that sadness 
is a choice & depending on the day 
not necessarily a bad one     that she 
is a chickadee     a trout     a lost girl     & why 
she asks did you go away     behind every tree 
I looked for you     but you were nowhere 
to be found     so I had to use my powers 
& save myself     okay I say     yes     she says 
I guess it is     it’s okay