A fifth-grade bully, a blossoming romance, a late-night crash
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Mornings, the man
and his daughter wake early.
Everyone they know still sleeps.
Today, she drifts downstairs to read,
later looks up to see him there,
sipping the coffee she made in the early peace.
They are terribly far from home.
Outside, morning’s first snow settles
in the high, quiet crevices
This is not Georgia.
Here, the man and the girl
are like the odd weather.
They are told while they shiver
that this cold is warmth come too far north.
All they know is the frontier is frozen
and this is their first frontier.
They amble the strange snow,
their same dark eyes huge
as those of the bison.
Mornings, the man in his chair
pulled next to hers, only sitting;
this is a lot.
There is the sound
of the day’s first fire,
snapping deep in the great stone hearth,
and three each
of their particular brands of cigarettes
crushed in the ashtray between them.
Days, the man and his daughter search the horizon.
Buffalo: buried faces emerge,
beards heavied with snow.
The man and the girl walk and walk.
Soon it’s as though
they’ve known this all their lives. They stand
with the frontier always ahead. The cold
and the white length of it loosen their feet
from the ground. They grow dizzy.
The man points to it all.
Mornings, each in their chair, reading.
Today, he looks up from his book.
He thinks he will fish.
She has fished bass with him
from the brown Georgian lakes.
Here, fish are trout
that run fast in cold, breaking rivers —
the rivers mere rifts
in unfathomed prairie.
Here, there are swans over water and his daughter loses him
again and again to the hovering fowl.
She is his firstborn. Mornings here,
she wants to lean the inches toward his chair, take flight above him,
her first fisherman. Out on the snowed plains,
she watches him slow at the sight of the swans.
The bellies white as the range beneath them,
her father’s arm always in air, pointing,
and him moving faster, so not to lose them.