Terry Ann Thaxton

Weeds, deer flies, and empty buckshot,

like a constant family, attach themselves to my hands, ears,

eyes, and clothing, while a peewee calls, See-a me?

I wear a hat, and a fawn slips across the trail.

Sheets of wildflowers.

Trees commanded by wind. To be still. To move.

Along the marsh the trail reads my feet

as tall, weighted grass, but I have left my friendís siblings

behind who, unlike my brothers and sister, are drawn toward

one another, toward their motherís house—its

front yard of bird feeders,

lawn chairs, basketball hoop, and tended wildflowers,

its weekly dinners, as if each sibling

were an abandoned cornfield needing seed after years of want.

Its laughter.

Pine weighs on my tongue. And mud, like rotted oak and fish.

Still the remote peewee calls as though

he is lonely as an orphan. See-a me? he asks, inviting me to

talk. See-a me? I pull off my hat, raise

my binoculars, and the sky offers its philanthropy

all day. I tell the sky

of my dead parents, my brothers and my sister who live

far away, and the forgotten morning

moves, casting shadow on the cliff I must

walk up to reach the bottom of the trail. One day birds

will call me by name. I will go to them.

For now, I say back to the peewee, I hear you, but can’t

see you. Do you see me? I hold tight to what I haveó

a wild turkey feather and a hollow carapace that once,

to a box turtle, was home.

Terry Ann Thaxton is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Central Florida where she founded and directs the Literary Arts Partnership at UCF which provides creative writing workshops to alternative populations throughout central Florida , including shelters, assisted living centers, residential treatment facilities, public schools, and prisons. She has published poetry in journals such as Rattle, Connecticut Review, Comstock Review, Haydenís Ferry, West Branch, Tampa Review, Cimarron Review, and others. Her first collection of poetry, Getaway Girl, won the 18th Annual Frederick Morgan Poetry Prize.

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