Jan/Feb 2017 • Vol. XXXIX No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2017 |

In the Black Forest

Even the birds, stained black by the thumb of morning. If not love, then at least a thing that is not love's undoing, that is not a lung with nothing to do. When I dream of loving another man it is onlya muscle remembering the joy of work. Recall our middlefingers' calluses, toughed up from the gripping of pens. I thought minewould keep crusting, that I'd die with a claw like a fruit-heavy crone, open in midtemptation—instead there is only bone and over it nothing to note. Not all sentences endin a way that sounds like knowing anything. I have this son who tumbled out of a Boy Scouts manual, a Little Rascal inked to pink starring in an opera of dirt—but he's afraid of mean faces, stepmothers, and queens green with memories of milk skin murmurs through lace at the nape. It's OK, I say, they'll end up alone dancing to death in red-hot shoes. One day it is your finger on the spindle, the next you are cursing the bobbin, giving it two jobs to do.

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Erin Adair-Hodges is the winner of the 2016 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize for Let's All Die Happy (University of Pittsburgh, 2017). She is currently a visiting assistant professor of poetry at the University of Central Missouri where she is the poetry editor of Pleiades.

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