She left her three sons to their battles in the yard,
hiked the hill to the tower, nodded to her mother’s ghost
still scanning the sky for war planes.
All the way up, grasshoppers clung to rails and rickety stairs.
In the high room carved with lovers’ hearts,
they scratched out warnings.
On the roof, her back against the weather vane,
she surveyed the Cathedral of Pines gutted by the freak tornado,
the steeple leaning from Our Lady Immaculate Church.
All summer, she’d dreamed of storms pinwheeling across the Atlantic,
crabs picking at a space suit filled with bones,
sparrows snapping wings against her tomato nets.
She wanted to be a small wing depending on no one,
hovering in the sun’s last light. She wanted the sky
to grow black and luminous as her eyes,
stars to scatter crumbs in the woods,
the moon to guide her to a home she’d never known,
pecking the crumbs, one by one, behind her.
By Henry Hart
Recipient of the 2010 Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize
First published in Richmond Magazine April 2009
Copyright © 2009 by Henry Hart