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    The Drifter

    by Aries Nichols

     

    Searching.
    (drifting.)
    She carried me in a sling
    and walked an hour long trail
    that revolves around the doors of cafés

    Now I’m finally walking, and she asks me to get her coffee,
    but I never shoot a bird at rest,
    so I never cut across the grass.

    Stains cost your shoes
    as you step and flatten the grass
    as a tire flattens a squirrel.

    All to bring a cup to you,
    you know?
    She doesn’t know.
    it’s painful to see.

    But I remember how she smiled at the grass when it waved,
    and she let it grow tall 
    to smile every day.

    Standing.
    (sinking.) 
    This skin on your hands wrinkling.
    Every year, we shrink,
    we get creases instead of rings.

    My hands fill with splinters,
    but I’m almost free.
    I get my grip on the branch of a tree
    I need this view.
    It’s the only way to see.
    Down there, I can’t breathe
    through the coffee and gasoline.

    I lift my hand, an oak leaf.
    And it drifts,
    lost at sea.
    Am I my mother?
    Reaching?
    (missing.)

    But it’s almost in reach.
    I want that cloud, you know?
    The one that looks like me.

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