I move around the gold line
of a bird until I see a single feather,
the sky and song inside reflection,
an endless body balanced on beak,
the foot a hackle of bronze. I orbit
in and out of my wren mind
where my eye lingers not on the tip
but rather the center swell, the light
lean as if burdened to carry the weight
of another in the core belly of plume.
Death is rarely scheduled.
It may have been winter or maybe spring.
Did he drive my car or his? At seventeen
and already slightly swollen I entered a clinic
to clean up my life. Was I sure? Yes.
Even now, sometimes I’m sure the winter whir
of my ancient basement boiler is my molten past.
I wanted to consume all that made me
ache. No. I wanted to expel all that damned me.
I circle the bronze trying to find another way in
to its wing, to its powder down,
remembering the scrape and pluck.
I don’t remember much
about Brancusi or the court case
affirming his cast metal as art.
Each night, the moon turns its same side
to the earth, forces tides to act
as brakes on our planet’s rotation.
But I am spinning on brakes
worn out years ago.
Listen to Didi Jackson read this poem here.
Didi Jackson‘s debut collection of poems, Killing Jar, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2020. Her poems have appeared most recently in the New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Common, among other publications. She teaches Creative Writing, Poetry and the Visual Arts, and 20th Century Poetry of War and Witness at the University of Vermont and serves as the associate poetry editor for Green Mountains Review. New poems will appear in New England Review’s forthcoming issue, NER 39.1.
NER Digital is New England Review’s online project dedicated to original creative nonfiction for the web. “Confluences” presents writers’ encounters with works of art such as books, plays, poems, films, paintings, sculptures, or buildings. To submit an essay to our series, please read our guidelines.