Midwest November

From the “Songs of the Sky” photo series by Alfred Stieglitz (American, Hoboken, New Jersey 1864-1946). Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I breathe differently up here.
The wind across the river is busy
with commerce and worship, columns 
at my doors. Rooms from the upper city 

in my veins, in my bones I feel it— 
a slow drip over stones. When the seasons
break free, I cower and lean to beginnings,
sheath-wet. I’ve found no comfort here. Wisps

of sorrow rip their clothes off and skip
down that street that hasn’t been used
since last summer. I am a small song now,
standing poised on the stairs. I’ve gathered

my shadows like talismans. I let them twitch
in my lap. I am beating all my wings. Everyone 
in me is a bird. I have seen the sparks fly out.
This can’t be the only life there is. Ghost-heart 

of this place, this dream, I give it a shove 
and it lifts off in blackness, like revelation. 
Is this the storm’s heart, a night flowing 
with crows? I have found the warm caves 

in the woods, filled them with silks, sedatives,
cravings—sweet weight. The sun is against me. 
The moon will not have me. The weeds 
whine: I’m cold. I’m cold all over. 

Megan Denton Ray is currently an MFA candidate at Purdue University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Sun, Cimarron Review, The Adroit Journal, Salt Hill Journal, and elsewhere. 
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